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Consequences of Job Stress for the Mental Health of Teachers

Part of the Aligning Perspectives on Health, Safety and Well-Being book series (AHSW)

Abstract

This chapter examines research on the relationship between job stressors and mental health (depressive symptoms, burnout, and mental disorders such as depression) in teachers. Teachers are exposed daily to job stressors (e.g., student disruptiveness) that have been linked to adverse mental health effects. Epidemiologic research indicates that when compared to members of other groups, teachers experience higher rates of mental disorder, although some studies question that conclusion. Large-scale studies indicate when compared to members of other occupational groups, teachers are at higher risk for exposure to workplace violence, with its adverse mental health consequences. Longitudinal research has linked teaching-related stressors to depressive and psychosomatic symptoms, alcohol consumption, and burnout. Research on the efficacy of workplace coping has been weak. Recent research suggests that burnout may be better conceptualized as a depressive syndrome than a separate entity.

Keywords

  • Teachers
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Burnout
  • Violence
  • Coping

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Notes

  1. 1.

    One-year prevalence refers to the proportion of the population that had the disorder in question during the one-year period under study. Six-month prevalence refers to the proportion with the disorder at any time during a six-month period, and so forth.

  2. 2.

    A case-control is not the kind of study that can ordinarily yield an estimate of the prevalence of a disorder although it can reveal whether an attribute of individuals such as their occupational title is associated with a disorder.

  3. 3.

    Point prevalence is a kind of instantaneous prevalence.

  4. 4.

    The GHQ, despite a name that suggests physical health, assesses psychological distress. Finlay-Jones used the 30-item version of the GHQ.

  5. 5.

    One exception was when sociodemographic factors were controlled, male (but not female) teachers had a higher lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders than male non-teachers.

  6. 6.

    In psychological research, a growth study examines individual change, such as change in scores on a burnout scale, as a function of time.

  7. 7.

    González-Morales et al. regressed time 2 EE on time 1 and time 2 stressors, finding that time 2 stressors and EE were concurrently related; the original analyses made it difficult to establish the temporal priority of stressors over EE.

  8. 8.

    The time lag was inadvertently omitted from the publication, and we thank P. Parker (personal communication, March 8, 2015) for supplying it.

  9. 9.

    Burnout, like depression, has been treated both as a continuous factor and nosologically (Schonfeld & Bianchi, 2016). The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) identifies burnout as a state that influences health status.

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Schonfeld, I.S., Bianchi, R., Luehring-Jones, P. (2017). Consequences of Job Stress for the Mental Health of Teachers. In: McIntyre, T., McIntyre, S., Francis, D. (eds) Educator Stress. Aligning Perspectives on Health, Safety and Well-Being. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-53053-6_3

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