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Most research into emotional labour is focussed on front-line service staff and health professionals, in short-term interactions. Little exists exploring the emotional labour involved in repeated ongoing interactions by educational leaders with key stakeholders. This study explored the relationships between emotional demands, three emotional labour facets, burnout, wellbeing and job satisfaction in 1320 full-time school principals. Principals displayed significantly higher scores on emotional demands at work, burnout and job satisfaction, and significantly lower wellbeing scores than the general population. Structural equation modelling revealed that emotional demands predicted the elevated use of all emotional labour strategies. Surface Acting-Hiding emotions had an inverse relationship with burnout, wellbeing and job satisfaction. Surface Acting-Faking emotions had an inverse relationship with job satisfaction. Deep Acting demonstrated no significant associations with outcome variables. The findings of this study extend the current literature on the effects of emotional labour. The study also extends understanding about the separate effects of the facets of emotional labour, which will aid in the development of interventions to reduce high levels of burnout reported by educational leaders.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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