Daily Bulletin


News

  • Written by Peta Stapleton, Associate Professor in Psychology, Bond University

Over half of Australian teachers suffer from anxiety and nearly one-fifth are depressed. These are the findings of our soon-to-be-published study assessing teachers’ well-being.

We examined the health and well-being of 166 Australian school teachers, aged 22-65, in an anonymous survey. Respondents revealed their work environment, workload and finances to be the most significant sources of stress.

Around 18% of respondents had symptoms that met the criteria for moderate to severe depression. Nearly 62% met criteria for moderate to severe anxiety while nearly 20% (19.75%) had severe anxiety. And 56% met criteria for medium to high severity of somatic symptoms. This is when the symptoms are physical and can include pain, nausea, dizziness and fainting.

Alarmingly, 17% screened positive for having probable alcohol abuse or dependence.

Read more: Are you burnt out at work? Ask yourself these 4 questions

These rates are higher than the national averages. Around 10% of Australians experience depression over their lifetime, 13% experience anxiety, 5% are diagnosed with substance use disorders, and 7% are diagnosed with somatic symptom disorder.

The findings are concerning for a number of reasons, including that teachers are required to foster the emotional well-being of students. The Australian Curriculum requires teachers to address students’ personal and social capabilities. This includes teaching students to recognise and identify their own emotions, teaching emotional awareness, and relationship exploration and understanding.

But if a teacher’s mental health is affected, this may undermine their capacity to promote well-being in students.

One-quarter of Australians report they suffer stress. Previous surveys show sales support workers suffer the highest stress levels out of all occupations. Other professions experiencing high stress include hospitality, legal, social, health and welfare support workers.

But our research adds school teachers to the mix. This is supported by other studies indicating teachers are more susceptible to work-related stress, burnout and general psychological distress when compared to other occupations.

Along with assessing respondents on several measures of well-being, our study asked them to identify the most stressful thing in their lives. The word cloud below illustrates the frequency of teachers’ main concerns – of which “work” was dominant. The larger the fonts, the more frequently these were cited.

Teachers are more depressed and anxious than the average Australian Teachers’ main sources of stress. Author provided

Chronic stress has many negative consequences, including putting sufferers at risk of long-term mental health disorders.

Several features may contribute to a stressful teaching environment. Studies have pointed to a lack of educational resources, difficulties with staff and parents, work overload, time pressure and behavioural challenges with students as contributing to teacher stress and burnout. This could contribute to, or exacerbate, existing mental-health issues.

Read more: Almost every Australian teacher has been bullied by students or their parents, and it's taking a toll

Teachers may also be drinking as a form of stress relief. Other countries have reported alcohol use to be two to three times higher in teachers than in the general population.

Research on work-related stress suggests high levels of work effort must be matched with high levels of rewards. According to this model, an imbalance between effort and reward leads to increased emotional reactions and risk of mental-health problems.

Rewards can be financial, the chance for regular professional development, job security, as well as praise, approval and esteem. Teachers could be experiencing mental distress and its associated health implications if the demands of their job seem to exceed the rewards.

We know employees perform better when they have more control over their daily work schedules, flexibility and access to support when they need it.

We might see improvements in teachers’ coping and performance abilities if they are offered well-being programs, whether that be as professional development, access to paid gym memberships, or childcare support.

Attending to the mental health of teachers should be paramount. They are at the forefront of the education system and vital to supporting student success.

Psychology student Sarah Garby was involved in the research paper discussed in this article.

Authors: Peta Stapleton, Associate Professor in Psychology, Bond University

Read more http://theconversation.com/teachers-are-more-depressed-and-anxious-than-the-average-australian-117267

Writers Wanted

As Trump exits the White House, he leaves Trumpism behind in Australia

arrow_forward

Biden’s Senate majority doesn't just super-charge US climate action, it blazes a trail for Australia

arrow_forward

Disaster season is here — do you have a Resilience Action Plan? Here's how the small town of Tarnagulla built theirs

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister's Remarks to Joint Party Room

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is great to be back in the party room, the joint party room. It’s great to have everybody back here. It’s great to officially welcome Garth who joins us. Welcome, Garth...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Business News

7 foolproof tips for bidding successfully at a property auction

Auctions can be beneficial for prospective buyers, as they are transparent and fair. If you reach the limit you are willing to pay, you can simply walk away. Another benefit of an auction is tha...

Dominique Grubisa - avatar Dominique Grubisa

Getting Ready to Code? These Popular and Easy Programming Languages Can Get You Started

According to HOLP (History Encyclopedia of Programing Languages), there are more than 8,000 programming languages, some dating as far back as the 18th century. Although there might be as many pr...

News Co - avatar News Co

Avoid These Mistakes When Changing up Your Executive Career

Switching up industries is a valid move at any stage in your career, even if you’re an executive. Doing so at this stage can be a lot more intimidating, however, and it can be quite difficult know...

News Co - avatar News Co



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion