ORIGINAL PAPER
Can empathy lead to emotional exhaustion in teachers? The mediating role of emotional labor
Monika Wróbel 1, 2  
 
 
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1
Institute of Psychology, Department of Psychology of Personality and Individual Differences, University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland
2
Department of Psychology of Personality and Individual Differences, Institute of Psychology, University of Lodz, Smugowa 10/12, 91-433, Łódź, Poland
 
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2013;26(4):581–592
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ABSTRACT
Objectives: The present study was designed to examine the links between empathy, emotional labor (both surface and deep acting), and emotional exhaustion as well as determine if emotional labor mediates the relationship between empathy and emotional exhaustion in teachers. It was assumed that emotional labor can take two opposite directions (positive mood induction and negative mood induction). Thus, the additional aim of the study was to analyze the mediating role of mood regulation strategies in the relationship between empathy and emotional exhaustion. Materials and Methods: A sample of 168 teachers from Łódź and its surroundings completed a set of questionnaires: Emotional Labor Scale; Mood Regulation Scales, Maslach Burnout Inventory, and Empathic Sensitivity Scale. Results: The results provided mixed support for the hypotheses indicating that both types of emotional labor, negative mood induction and emotional exhaustion were positively intercorrelated. Moreover, deep acting was a significant mediator in the relationship between empathy and emotional exhaustion. The analyzed link was also mediated by negative mood induction, whereas positive mood induction did not emerge as a significant mediator. Conclusions: The study provided insight into the role of empathy and emotional labor in the development of teacher burnout. It also confirmed that deep acting and negative mood induction mediate the relationship between empathy and emotional exhaustion in teachers.
eISSN:1896-494X
ISSN:1232-1087