Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Pyschology


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Susan Gee


The relationship between university lecturers' perceived stress, use of humour to cope with stress, optimism, pessimism, and burnout was investigated. Participants included 180 lecturers from a range of Perth universities and disciplines. Questionnaire packages were delivered to the participants at their universities and were later returned to the researcher by mail. A principle components analysis was first performed on the Life Orientation Test-Revised, a self-report instrument designed to measure optimism, and demonstrated support for a two-dimensional model of optimism and pessimism. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis was subsequently conducted to determine the ability of perceived stress, humour, optimism, and pessimism, followed by the interactions between perceived stress and humour, optimism, and pessimism, and then gender to predict lecturers' burnout. The results revealed that after perceived stress had been accounted for, humour and optimism had a significant main effect on burnout. Pessimism and gender were not significant unique predictors of burnout. The interactions between perceived stress humour, optimism, and pessimism did not predict burnout. The findings highlight the role of humour and optimism in predicting burnout, and the implications for burnout prevention strategies.

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Psychology Commons