School Principal Burnout Scale

Friedman, I. A. (1995). School principal burnout: The concept and its components. Journal of Organizational Behavior 16:191–98.


The 23-item School Principal Burnout Scale (SPB-R) is a revised version of School Principal Burnout Scale, which assesses exhaustion, depersonalization, and accomplishment.

Scale Construction:

Sixty elementary and secondary school principals described feelings and behaviors of burned-out principals. Their responses generated 228 items, which were field tested with a random sample of 571 principals. A second random sample of 410 principals completed a questionnaire with four major categories: exhaustion, aloofness, deprecation, and unaccomplishment. Response patterns, item-total correlations, and semantic content were examined before a 30-item scale was generated.


The final validation sample consisted of 502 elementary principals, 266 junior high and high school principals, and 53 principals who did not indicate school level.


Alpha coefficients were 0.90 (exhaustion and depersonalization) and 0.84 (accomplishment). Test-retest reliability over a two-week interval was 0.83 with a sample of 37 principals.


Construct validity was established by conducting factor analytic procedures.

Factor Structure:

A three-factor solution was accepted. The first factor, exhaustion (1–9) contains items related to “feelings of experienced cognitive, emotional, and physical fatigue.” The second factor, depersonalization (10–16) contains items related to “negative, callous or excessively detached response to care service recipients.” The third factor, accomplishment (17–23), contains items related to a “decline in ones feelings of competence and successful achievement in work, reduced productivity or capability, low morale, withdrawal, and inability to cope.”


Friedman, I. A. (1995). Measuring school principal experienced burnout. Educational and Psychological Measurement 55:641–51.

Scott, R. M. Jr. (2001). A symbolic interactionist, collective case study of veteran, secondary principals’ experiences with regard to stress. EdD dissertation, University of Northern California.

School Principal Burnout Scale

1. I feel tired of running the school to the extent that I wish to quit.
2. I feel burned out by my work as school principal.
3. I think I am no longer interested in running a school.
4. I feel emotionally worn out by running the school.
5. I feel that I would like a break from the problems brought to me.
6. I feel that my work as a principal gives me a lot of pleasure.
7. I feel it is difficult for me to always solve problems at school.
8. I feel full of energy and readiness to promote school matters.
9. I feel quite fresh at the end of a day’s work at school.
10. I feel that in contrast with the past I care less about teachers’ problems.
11. I feel that in contrast with the past I am less supportive or appreciative of my teachers.
12. I feel impatient with teachers and students at school.
13. I feel that my relationships with teachers and students are less personal than in the past.
14. I think that ideas and suggestions raised by teachers and staff members are not as interesting and good as they were in the past.
15. In contrast to the past, I tend to ignore things at school that I don’t like.

16. I think that I am not as open to suggestions and ideas raised by teachers as I was in the past.
17. I feel I have to assist in solving problems at school and I do not find enough time for that.
18. During a day’s work I find the time to encourage a teacher having problems and to assist him or her in solving them.
19. During a day’s work I find the time to quietly think and plan future activities.
20. Teachers refer problematic students to me and I cannot find time to take care of them.
21. I find enough time to meet students during the day.
22. I find sufficient time to meet with the school counselor or psychologist to discuss issues of special interest to me personally.
23. I sit in on teachers’ classes to an extent that seems to me most satisfactory and desirable.


Never = 1; Very rarely = 2; Rarely = 3; Often = 4; Very often = 5; and Always = 6.