At a time when family and social cohesion are dwindling more and more, the study environment is increasingly serving students as a support and an opportunity for identification. However, the study environment is also subject to constant change and is affected by various change processes, which also require students to adapt permanently. Especially within the Bologna reform, the study conditions have changed considerably: students face enormous challenges in the form of massive compression of the learning material, multiplicity of manifold examination achievements, which flow almost without exception into the final grade as well as rigid study and examination regulations with little liberties with regard to contents and temporal organisation. It is precisely the coordination of the manifold tasks that causes massive difficulties. In addition, there are the expectations of future employers, which evoke a real activism of adaptation among students. Leading a 'complete curriculum vitae' through internships, stays abroad, social commitment or the like is more like a supposed self-optimisation assignment, which, however, often leads to a permanent overtaxing of oneself. Through the interplay of continuous learning, examination pressure and self-optimisation as well as a possible part-time job to finance their studies, students are exposed to a permanent state of stress due to environmental factors.
In addition to the structural or environmental challenges of the studies, individual difficulties in the study environment can arise, such as an intensified competitive situation with other students, personal problems with a lecturer or examination stress at the end of the semester. In addition, numerous problems can arise in the private environment with which the students are confronted. Possible problem areas include change of residence and consequently missing social environment or problems in the domestic housing situation itself (e.g. anger with flatmates or the landlord). In addition, students are also challenged in numerous other contexts and bear responsibility towards parents, siblings and friends or in associations. Other stressful situations include financial problems, separation from one’s partner, illness – also in one’s personal environment – or death. It is precisely the multitude and totality of the burdens that can overwhelm those affected and thus lead to burnout.
Of course, not everyone is equally at risk of burnout. The decisive factor is the relationship between stress and personal resources, the individual’s resilience. Nevertheless, certain personality traits are associated with an increased risk potential. People, for example, who define themselves strongly through the praise of others or can hardly say 'no', are potentially more at risk. Likewise perfectionism, a strongly pronounced achievement thinking, high self-requirements and a normative as well as idealistic way of thinking increase the risk. Furthermore, bad time management, a lack of self-confidence and the urge to want to do everything yourself have a negative effect. Altogether the personality seems to be a key factor with the emergence of a Burnout illness. It is important to be aware of oneself and to be aware of personal characteristics which, in certain respects, have a risk potential with regard to the development of permanent stress in order to be able to react appropriately and to find a good way of dealing with stressful situations.