This study investigated coping strategies that predict the frequency of three dimensions of burnout in international school principals. Prior research has established that many principals feel overloaded, overwhelming levels of stress, and emotional exhaustion. Research has also shown that many principals also feel low levels of professional accomplishment and job satisfaction. Principals who experience chronic stress struggle to be effective leaders, which directly impacts student learning. In this study, a diverse group of international school principals was surveyed using the Coping Strategies Inventory Short Form (CSI-SF) and the Maslach Burnout Inventory Educators Survey (MBI-ES).
Responses from 117 principals were analyzed using multiple linear regression in order to determine whether the frequency of using coping skills can predict the frequency of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment in a sample of international school principals. Responses indicate that international school principals report infrequent levels of depersonalization and frequent levels of personal accomplishment. Findings suggest that problem-focused engagement coping skills, which include problem solving and cognitive restructuring, have a statistically significant predictive relationship with a reduction in the frequency of depersonalization. Findings also suggest that problem-focused disengagement coping skills, which include problem avoidance and wishful thinking, have a statistically significant predictive relationship with an increase in the frequency of personal accomplishment.
These findings may inform international school principals and principal trainers of best practices in supporting principals to reduce the frequency of burnout. Implications for principal training are discussed.