Originally published by 2 Minute Medicine® (view original article). Reused on AccessMedicine with permission.

1. In this meta-analysis, the impact of emotional burnout on academic performance in college and university student was assessed.

2. A significant reduction in academic performance was detected in students who reported high levels of exhaustion, cynicism, and diminished feelings of self-efficacy.

Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)

Postsecondary students may be at elevated risk of experiencing psychological burnout due to social and academic pressure. Distress associated with burnout may impact the ability of students to perform academically, resulting in further pressure. A better understanding of the effect of burnout on postsecondary academic performance may inform intervention strategies to improve student mental health.

The present systematic review and meta-analysis summarized the literature on the relationship between postsecondary academic performance and burnout. Studies were included if they evaluated academic achievement outcomes and symptoms of burnout in postsecondary students. Burnout was defined as any combination of exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced efficacy. Studies were excluded if they were incomplete or studied students with clinical psychiatric diagnoses. Outcomes evaluated included academic achievement on specific evaluations or over the entirety of a postsecondary degree.

Twenty-nine manuscripts with a total of 109,396 participants were included. Total burnout as well as isolated exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced efficacy were significantly related with decreases in academic achievement. Although, the study was limited in that there was not a robust control group of age-matched individuals not attending postsecondary schooling. Nonetheless, the study suggested that total burnout and individual burnout symptoms negatively impact academic performance in postsecondary students.

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