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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Special Education and Education Leadership

First Advisor

Thorndike-Christ, Tracy

Second Advisor

Kelley, Bridget

Third Advisor

Slentz, Kristine


Special education teachers work with some of the neediest students in our nation's public schools and experience higher levels of attrition and emotional burnout than those teachers who work with the general student population. The purpose of this study was to examine a variety of teacher belief variables and job characteristics to help understand the phenomenon of emotional exhaustion experienced by special educators. Results indicated that 43% of the variability in the level of burnout reported by special education teachers can be attributed to differences in levels of outcome efficacy, the amount of experience teaching special education, levels of self-efficacy, and the level of perceived agreement with families about their job responsibilities. These findings indicate that rates of burnout and attrition among special education teachers might be decreased by clarifying or altering job expectations to increase teacher perceptions of agreement with others and their efficacy beliefs.




Western Washington University

OCLC Number


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Academic theses




Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.