Mixed-Method Analysis of Predisposing Factors Associated with Thesis-Writing Burnout amongst Chinese Postgraduates


This mixed-method analysis investigates thesis-writing burnout among 117 Chinese postgraduates, probing the patterns, magnitude, and influencing factors. A measurable burnout trend emerges across thesis-writing stages - Thesis-Writing Proposal (TTP), Thesis-Writing 3-Chapter (TW3C), and Thesis-Writing 5-Chapter (TW5C) - peaking (X=4.41) during TW3C, reflecting heightened exhaustion and cynicism. Notably, burnout varies with demographic attributes, specifically gender and marital status. Concurrently, exhaustion and cynicism levels fluctuate with thesis-writing progression, while professional efficacy gradually escalates. Participants convey a shift from profound exhaustion and cynicism in TTP and TW3C stages to resilience, manageable fatigue, and self-assuredness during TW5C. Predisposing factors encompass uncertainty, anxiety, and advisory attributes, spanning styles, diligence, and personality traits. These aspects, especially autocratic and laissez-faire approaches, exacerbate stress and impact motivation and research methods. These findings underscore the multifaceted nature of academic burnout during thesis-writing among Chinese postgraduates, necessitating stage-specific interventions. Such tailored strategies facilitate burnout prevention, promote thesis completion, and yield profound implications for Chinese conventional postgraduate education. The research also establishes the vital role of advisors in modulating stress levels, underscoring the need for proactive support measures and fostering a conducive academic environment. This study augments understanding of academic burnout, offering valuable insights to counteract its detrimental effects and bolster postgraduate students' academic journey.