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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2023  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 42-46

Rocking the boat but keeping it steady: Lockdown, online classes, emotional intelligence and burnout among students

School of Public Health, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission10-Oct-2022
Date of Decision31-Dec-2022
Date of Acceptance23-Jan-2023
Date of Web Publication31-Mar-2023

Correspondence Address:
Priyanka Krishnamoorthy
School of Public Health, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Kattankalathur, Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ajprhc.ajprhc_88_22

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Background: Burnout is a stress-induced syndrome that predominantly affects adolescents. Some environmental and personal factors can contribute to the onset of burnout and its severe consequences, including attrition, sleep disorders, and depression. Objective: Our study examined the impact of the COVID lockdown on emotional intelligence, academic burnout, and academic performance. Materials and Methods: Data were collected from a sample of 471 school-going students. Participants are selected by simple random sampling by the randomization table technique. Participants completed questionnaires, including the evaluation of academic burnout (exhaustion, cynicism, and efficacy). Results: Among the study population, 59% were females, and 41% were males. The mean age was 15.5 ± 1.26 years. The mean score for Cynicism was 10.06 ± 3.8. The mean score for Academic Efficacy was 20.71 ± 4.63. The mean difference in Emotional Exhaustion Score between males and females was not statistically significant (P = 0.063). The mean difference in Cynicism Score between males and females was not statistically significant (P = 0.730). The mean difference between males and females was statistically significant in the Academic Efficacy and Total scores (P < 0.001). Conclusion: The findings suggest that emotional intelligence strongly correlates with burnout during the COVID-19 lockdown. Adaptive coping, mental health, and optimism help prevent academic burnout and consequently positively affect academic performance. Intervention and future research implications should be discussed.

Keywords: Burnout, COVID-19, emotional intelligence, lockdown

How to cite this article:
Krishnamoorthy P, Kosalram K. Rocking the boat but keeping it steady: Lockdown, online classes, emotional intelligence and burnout among students. Asian J Pharm Res Health Care 2023;15:42-6

How to cite this URL:
Krishnamoorthy P, Kosalram K. Rocking the boat but keeping it steady: Lockdown, online classes, emotional intelligence and burnout among students. Asian J Pharm Res Health Care [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Jun 8];15:42-6. Available from: http://www.ajprhc.com/text.asp?2023/15/1/42/373378

  Introduction Top

The recent emergence and rapid spread of the new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 coronavirus required unprecedented measures to contain the pandemic. In India, the pandemic reached a public health concern that required a state of alert and strict confinement, forcing the educational system to convert to virtual online instruction.[1] The global paradigm shift had an unanticipated and significant impact on the educational system. Students' health and well-being are jeopardized by confinement. It is common for students and teachers to experience high stress, anxiety, confusion, and anger throughout quarantine periods. The two elements that have the biggest effects on a person's physical and mental health while they are detained are habit loss and psychosocial stress.[2] Health issues can arise from developing unhealthy habits (such as poor eating habits, irregular sleeping patterns, etc.,) brought on by a sedentary lifestyle, confinement, and increased use of digital devices. The psychological consequences of stressful situations and emergencies can be encapsulated using research on the critical indicators involved, such as fear of virus infection and disease, expressions of frustration and boredom, inability to meet basic needs, and so forth., lack of information and specific directions for action, or the occurrence of a previous mental health issue.[3] All of these factors can have a significant impact on Student's academic performance. As an outcome, coaching, continuing to learn, and academic success may be severely undermined, resulting in emotional exhaustion (EX), self-criticism, and interest loss (cynicism).

Emotional intelligence in children

In the classroom, cognitive and behavioral self-control are critical components of learning and academic performance. The majority of students will not be frustrated or fail to meet their academic objectives.[4] To limit their negative thoughts and feelings, they rely on their fortitude. Students who can handle their emotions will also be able to succeed scholastically. In a study by Walter Mischel on 4-year-old children, it was observed that those who could maintain their action impulses have been best able to create effective academic and social skills during adolescence.[5] The findings suggest that improving academic performance could be accomplished by focusing on emotional management and coping in difficult situations.

Burnout in children

Burnout was primarily deemed as a psychological syndrome that's been described by a loss of motivation, a progressive EX, and a drop in enthusiasm. The condition known as burnout is characterized by high levels of work-related stress. There seem to be countless physical and mental symptoms involved in the process, which also typically lasts a year. From a psychological perspective, the academic context includes a number of student activities that could be considered employment.[6] For example, students who feel overwhelmed by their demanding academic workload may experience intense feelings. Students are required to participate in structured activities such as attending class, finishing projects, and taking examinations.[7] Burnout is primarily caused by two factors: EX and cynicism. These two factors have strong correlations with one another, whereas efficacy has a weak relationship with both of these factors. Efficacy beliefs appear to develop along with fatigue and cynicism, proposing that they may play a special role in the burnout process.[8] Understanding the typologies of burnout and emotional intelligence is crucial at present. Our aim study aims to assess the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on emotional intelligence and burnout among students.

  Materials and Methods Top

Between March and April 2021, this cross-sectional study, which included students in the age range of 15–19, was carried out in the schools of the Dharmapuri District in Tamil Nadu. Using a simple random sampling method, eight schools were selected. To avoid bias, simple random sampling was used to select every two schools from among public, private, and government-sponsored schools. To select the samples from each school, the randomization method is used. Students from higher and higher secondary schools were incorporated into the study. Students below higher schooling and who refused to engage in the research are excluded.

Sample size

The sample size was calculated using version 3.01 of the Open-Epi software. Taking into account a 20% attrition rate and a confidence interval of 80% and a power of 90%, the estimated sample size was 450. The hypothesized population frequency of outcome factors was maintained at 50%. Finally, a 5% absolute precision level was considered. Consequently, we ultimately recruited a sample size of 471.

Data collection tool

The Maslach Burnout Inventory Student-Survey, This scale has 15 items that evaluate the dimensions of Academic Efficacy (AE), Cynicism (CY), and EX. This scale contains 15 items that evaluate the dimensions of EX (5 items, for example: “I feel exhausted at the end of the school day,” CY (4 items, for example: “I feel more cynical about applying my lessons,” and AE (6 items, for example: “I feel less confident in my ability to apply my lessons.” On a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (always), students must indicate their level of agreement with each statement. Low AE scores and high EX and CY scores were clear indicators of burnout. The questionnaire was translated into Tamil and has been assisted by the researcher. The Pilot testing was done among the sixty students in order to confirm the validity.

Data collection procedure

In the selected schools, a paper-and-pencil survey will be conducted during school hours. The parents will provide their passive consent. In order to increase the confidentiality of the responses, respondents will be asked to provide their information anonymously.

Statistical analysis

In the current research, frequency and descriptive analysis was used to perform the descriptive parameters. To ascertain the relationship between the participants' emotional intelligence and the subscales of academic burnout, Chi-square was used. A value of P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. For data analysis, the SPSS Statistics for Windows, version 22.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Ill., USA) software were used.

  Results Top

About 471 school-aged children were selected for the study. The majority of the study population was female (59%), and the mean age was 15.5 ± 1.26 years. Approximately 35% of them were in the 11th grade, while 33.97% were in the 9th grade. Regarding the outcome parameter score, the mean score for EX was determined to be 15.7 ± 3.99. The mean score for CY was 10.06 ± 3.8. The mean score for AE was 20.71 ± 4.63 [Table 1].
Table 1: Descriptive analysis of demographic parameters in study population (n=471)

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[Table 2] reveals that the EX Score of 35.67% of them responded agree for “I feel emotionally drained by my studies,” 35.46% of them agree for “I Feel Used Up At The End Of A Day At School,” 39.28% of them agree for “I Feel Burned Out From My Studies,” 27.39% of them disagree for “I Feel Tired When I Get Up In The Morning And I Have To Face Another Day At School,” 30.15% of them disagree for “Studying Or Attending A Class Is Really A Strain For Me.”
Table 2: Descriptive analysis of scores in study population (n=471)

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In the CY score, 35.88% of them responded agree for “I have become less interested in studies since my enrolment at the school,” 33.55% of them responded strongly disagree for “I have become less enthusiastic about my studies,” 38.43% of them responded strongly disagree for “I have become more cynical about the potential usefulness of my studies,” 33.76% for of them responded strongly disagree for “I doubt the significance of my studies.”

In the AE score, 36.73% of them responded Agree for “I can effectively solve the problems that arise in my Studies,” 49.47% of them responded Agree for “I believe that I make an effective contribution to The classes that I attend,” 43.10% of them responded Agree for in my opinion, “I am a good student, 39.70% of them responded agree for I have learned many interesting things during the course of my studies,” 31.21% of them responded agree for “I feel stimulated when I achieve my study goals,” 35.24% of them responded agree for during class “I feel confident that I am effective in getting things done”.

[Table 3] interprets the mean EX Score of males was 14.44 ± 3.95 and 15.8 ± 3.98 for females. The mean difference in EX Score between males and females was not statistically significant.(P = 0.063) and the population of males, the mean CY Score was 10.28 ± 3.67, and it was 10.04 ± 3.81 for females. The mean AE Score was 16.84 ± 3.21 for males and 20.99 ± 4.59 for females. In terms of the mean total Scores, it was 41.56 ± 8.39 for males and 46.83 ± 8.52 for females. The mean difference in CY Score between males and females was not statistically significant (P = 0.730). The mean difference between males and females was statistically significant in the AE and Total scores (P < 0.001).
Table 3: Comparison of mean of parameter scores between gender (n=471)

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The association between emotional intelligence and academic burnout was statistically significant, and also the association between emotional intelligence and academic performance was also statistically significant (P > 0.05) [Table 4].
Table 4: Association between emotional intelligence, academic burnout, and academic performance

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  Discussion Top

This research examined the correlation between emotional intelligence, academic performance, and academic burnout. The results support the anticipated relationship between the various dimensions of academic burnout. Exhaustion was associated with AE and CY, assisting earlier research.[9]

According to Goleman and Boyatzis,[10] it is essential to be aware of their own emotions, to know how one feels, and to have a positive, objective view of oneself and others. EI is understood as a set of skills that serve to express and control emotions in the most appropriate manner in the personal and social sphere, including a good management of emotions, motivation, persistence, empathy, and mental agility. EI has helped students interact with the world in a receptive and appropriate manner to achieve optimal adaptation to the learning process in stressful situations, as we have been able to demonstrate with the students surveyed.

Emotion enhances attention, memory, and learning, acting as a catalyst for development and learning but also as a barrier or a brake in the case of negative emotions. Affectivity is a component of learning, and neuroscience research provides scientific support for the uniqueness of the individual in terms of the interplay between what we feel, what we think, and what we do. Other research demonstrates that emotions play a crucial role in the learning process.[11] Intensifying the activity of neural networks, thereby strengthening synaptic connections, both emotion and feeling, can facilitate learning.

Luo, et al.[12] found an association between academic burnout and coping in middle school students. Lazarus and Folkman et al. also found coping is a set of cognitive and behavioral responses used to deal with stressful demands that exceed one's personal resources.

Burnout is correlated with chronic stress, so those who are incapable of coping with stress or who employ maladaptive coping strategies are likely to experience it. Previous research has shown coping strategies for workplace burnout Bermejo-Toro et al.[13] and Parker et al.[14]

Furthermore, the majority of the participants were females high school students (59%). Previous research by Matud[15] and Purvanova and Muros[16] has found gender differences in coping and burnout. Therefore, the present results should be interpreted with caution. Consequently, future research must investigate gender differences in the studied variables.

Burgueño R et al.[17] and Biggs, A et al[18] emphasize the relationship between high motivation and emotional intelligence, which leads to improved academic performance, whereas our findings also show a strong association between emotional intelligence and academic performance. Therefore, emotional intelligence enables students to have better interactions with their teachers, which leads to academic satisfaction and prevents academic burnout. Emotional intelligence can increase a person's sense of responsibility and likelihood of success by enhancing their adaptability, flexibility, and impulsivity. As a result, this can reduce their academic burnout and improve academic performance.

Most of the respondents were female high school students as well (59%). Gender variations in coping and burnout have indeed been observed in earlier research by Matud et al., Purvanova, and Muros et al. Therefore, it is vital to use caution when analyzing the existing information. Furthermore, gender gaps in the examined factors ought to be addressed in future research.

Finally, the results indicate how academic burnout among high school students during COVID-19 is associated with emotional intelligence, providing the basis for creating prevention programs. Further study into the effectiveness of coping and optimism training interventions is needed due to academic burnout.

  Conclusion Top

Despite its limitations, this study enables us to understand the relationship between emotional intelligence, academic burnout, and academic performance during the COVID-19 lockdown. The findings suggest that optimistic thinking and adaptive coping are psychological tools that safeguard students from academic burnout. This research provides significant findings that can be used to generate psycho-educational strategies to prevent academic burnout and enhance students' well-being.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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Dong Y, Mo X, Hu Y, Qi X, Jiang F, Jiang Z, et al. Epidemiology of COVID-19 among children in China. Pediatrics 2020;145:e20200702.  Back to cited text no. 3
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Burgueño R, González-Cutre D, Sicilia Á Alcaraz-Ibáñez M, Medina-Casaubón J. Is the instructional style of teacher educators related to the teaching intention of pre-service teachers? A Self-Determination Theory perspective-based analysis. Educational review 2020;741282-304.  Back to cited text no. 17
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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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