Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 135–146 | Cite as

A Survey of Canadian Early Childhood Educators’ Psychological Wellbeing at Work

  • Nicole RoyerEmail author
  • Claire Moreau


The study aims to describe early childhood educators’ psychological wellbeing at work in terms of their interpersonal fit, thriving, feeling of competency, perceived recognition and desire for involvement. The study approach draws links between perceptions of autonomy at work and wellbeing. The analysis examines the results of a survey conducted among 1,535 early childhood educators in the province of Québec, Canada, using the Index of Psychological Well-Being at Work, developed by Dagenais-Desmarais (2010), an instrument presenting good internal consistency indicators, with alphas varying between .72 and .86. Additionally, a measure of perceived autonomy at work, producing an internal consistency of .83, has been adapted from an instrument originally designed to measure basic needs satisfaction in sports contexts (Gillet et al. 2008). The study results show that overall levels of wellbeing among early childhood educators are high, both among those working in centre-based settings and those working in home-based settings (private homes), throughout all career stages. However, a decrease in wellbeing levels is observed following the first 5 years of work, later followed by an increase in wellbeing levels among educators with 20 years of experience or more, in both work settings. The perception of autonomy proves to be related to wellbeing, accounting for 23 % of variance. The autonomy dimension, therefore, calls for greater attention from administrators concerned with the psychological wellbeing of workers in this sector of activity. The authors argue for the relevance and necessity of further research into the work lives of early childhood educators by emphasising that the issues raised in the study overlap with three areas of concern for a significant part of the population: early childhood educators’ profession, community family services, and the accumulation of knowledge in work psychology.


Child care providers Early childhood educators Psychological wellbeing Workplace Survey Positive psychology 



This study was made possible by support from the Québec Council for Educational Daycare Services (Conseil Québécois des Services de Garde Éducatif à l’Enfance) and the Interdisciplinary Centre for The Study of Childhood and Family Development (Centre d’Études Interdisciplinaires sur le Développement de l’Enfant et de la Famille).

Ethical standard

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département des sciences de l’éducationUniversité du Québec à Trois-RivièresTrois-RivièresCanada

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