Middle School Teachers’ Mindfulness, Occupational Health and Well-Being, and the Quality of Teacher-Student Interactions
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Building upon contemporary models of teaching that suggest that teachers’ own well-being is related to their classroom practice and student outcomes, we examined whether middle school teachers’ mindfulness skills were related to their concurrent occupational health and well-being (job stress, occupational burnout, and depressive and anxiety symptoms), and quality of their interactions with students in their “most stressful” class during the school day. Multivariate regression analyses of 58 middle school teachers indicated that teacher mindfulness was significantly associated with lower levels of job stress, occupational burnout, and depressive and anxiety symptoms; and higher levels of observers’ ratings of teachers’ emotionally supportive interactions with students in their most stressful classroom. Occupational burnout, in contrast, was negatively related to observers’ ratings of emotional support and organization in the classroom. Results suggest individual differences in middle school teachers’ mindfulness may affect their interactions with students in the middle school classroom directly and through reductions in burnout, though longitudinal studies of these relations are needed. Findings are discussed in relation to intervention efforts to improve teacher mindfulness through training in order to support occupational health and well-being, improve the quality of teacher-student interactions in the classroom, and increase student engagement and learning.
KeywordsMiddle school Teacher well-being Mindfulness Job stress Burnout Interaction quality Emotional support Classroom organization
The authors would also like to thank the William T. Grant Foundation, Spencer Foundation, Portland State University, Andre Jackson, and Ulco Visser of the Impact Foundation, for making this study possible. Thank you to the district administration and all participating teachers, students, and families, and all of the research assistants who aided the project over the years. We are most grateful for your assistance.
SSB: Together with RWR, conceptualized the study. Completed data analyses, interpretation, and manuscript preparation.
RWR: Project Principal Investigator. Together with SSB, conceptualized the study. Collaborated with data analyses, interpretation, and manuscript preparation.
AJM: Project Co-Investigator, collaborated in the writing, and editing of the final manuscript.
ES: Project Co-Investigator, collaborated in the writing, and editing of the final manuscript.
This study was funded by research grants from the William T. Grant Foundation (10942) and the Spencer Foundation (201400182). The first author was supported by a predoctoral training grant from the Institute of Educational Sciences (R305B090007), and second author was supported by the Bennett Pierce Chair in Care and Compassion, during the preparation of this manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Robert Roeser (PI), and Andrew Mashburn and Ellen Skinner (CO-PIs) received research grants from the William T. Grant Foundation (10942) and the Spencer Foundation (201400182) to conduct this research. The first author was supported by a predoctoral training grant from the Institute of Educational Sciences (R305B090007), and second author was supported by the Bennett Pierce Chair in Care and Compassion, during the preparation of this manuscript.
All procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Portland State University institutional review board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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