Psychological distress and coping styles in teachers: A preliminary study

Peta Stapleton*, Sarah Garby, Debbie Sabot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Teaching professionals report higher levels of work-related stress and symptoms of psychological health problems than the general population. This study examined psychological distress, coping styles and wellbeing in 166 Australian teachers (aged 22–65 years; M = 37.74 years, SD = 10.84 years). Participants completed an online survey comprising demographic items and four empirical measures (The Satisfaction with Life Scale, Subjective Happiness Scale, The Brief COPE Inventory and The Patient Health Questionnaire). Work, workload and finances were identified as leading sources of stress. Moreover, above-average clinical symptoms of anxiety, depression and physical concerns were reported, and 17% of respondents met criteria for probable alcohol dependence. Results suggested that maladaptive coping strategies employed by teachers may contribute to their risk of increased psychological distress, and decreased life satisfaction and happiness. These findings indicate the need for work-based programmes to enhance teachers’ coping strategies in an effort to reduce psychological distress and improve overall wellbeing in teaching professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-146
Number of pages20
JournalAustralian Journal of Education
Volume64
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Apr 2020

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