Don’t Tell Me How To Relax: Navigating Burnout Among Female Student Affairs Professionals
Michele Margaret McDonald
Student affairs professionals (SAP) report incredibly high levels of burnout, with women burning out at disproportionately higher rates than men. Although there is an abundance of research about what causes work stress and burnout among women in the field, there has been less analysis on how female SAPs are dealing with stress to prevent burnout, as well as if they believe their coping strategies are helping or not. This study seeks to answer the following questions: (1) How are female SAPs navigating burnout in their professional lives? (2) How effective do female SAPs consider their stress-reducing and coping strategies to be? Using a constructivist phenomenological approach, I interviewed 11 female SAPs who have worked in the field for more than five years from a variety of institutional types, functional areas, and position levels. Data analysis shows that several of the most effective coping strategies include setting boundaries, exercise, and having a supportive supervisor; however, COVID has impacted many female SAPs’ ability to manage their stress and burnout. This study has implications for both current and future female SAPs to find effective and healthy ways to navigate burnout and work stress.
Graham F. Hunter
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium project, student affairs, School of Education and Health Sciences
"Don’t Tell Me How To Relax: Navigating Burnout Among Female Student Affairs Professionals" (2021). Stander Symposium Projects. 2317.