Anda di halaman 1dari 78

Running head: EXPLORING SOURCES OF TEACHER STRESS

Exploring Sources of Teacher Stress


In Head Start

A Dissertation Submitted To The Faculty Of The Graduate School


In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirements For The Doctor of Psychology Degree

Psychology Department

by
Andrea D. Pauley Reffett
Wheaton, Illinois
March, 2009

UMI Number: 3360250


Copyright 2009 by
Pauley Reffett, Andrea D.
All rights reserved

INFORMATION TO USERS

The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy
submitted. Broken or indistinct print, colored or poor quality illustrations and
photographs, print bleed-through, substandard margins, and improper
alignment can adversely affect reproduction.
In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript
and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if unauthorized
copyright material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion.

______________________________________________________________
UMI Microform 3360250
Copyright 2009 by ProQuest LLC
All rights reserved. This microform edition is protected against
unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code.

_______________________________________________________________
ProQuest LLC
789 East Eisenhower Parkway
P.O. Box 1346
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346

Teacher Stress ii
Certification Page

Exploring Sources of Teacher Stress


In Head Start

by
Andrea D. Pauley Reffett

Approved:

_______________________________________
Kelly S. Flanagan, Ph.D., Chair

____________
Date

_______________________________________
Sally Schwer Canning, Ph.D.

____________
Date

_______________________________________
Sandra Johnston-Kruse, Psy.D.

____________
Date

Teacher Stress iii

Disclaimer
The views expressed in this clinical dissertation manuscript are those of the
student and do not necessarily express the views of the Wheaton College
Graduate School.

Teacher Stress iv
WHEATON COLLEGE
Wheaton, Illinois

Date March 18 Yr 2009

Exploring Sources of Teacher Stress


In Head Start

Psychology Department
Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology

Permission is herewith granted to Wheaton College to make copies of the above title, at
its discretion, upon the request of individuals or institutions and at their expense.

________________________________
Signature of Author
Extensive quotation or further reproduction of this material by persons or agencies other
than Wheaton College may not be made without the expressed permission of the writer.

Teacher Stress v
Abstract
Head Start provides a valuable resource for underserved children in the United
States but unfortunately, the teachers in the Head Start system experience a high rate of
burnout and turnover. In order to support the children served by Head Start, teachers
needs must also be met and their job experiences must be understood. By evaluating how
individual factors and characteristics in the work environment as well as how the use of
coping strategies might impact the experience of occupational stress among teachers in
the Head Start system, better support and training can be offered to decrease those
sources of stress and increase coping skills. The current study evaluated individual
factors (i.e., educational background, time employed at Head Start, and difficulty using
teaching techniques) and work environment factors (i.e., job demands, work load, clear
expectations, good boundaries, responsibilities, and the physical environment) that
contribute to teachers experience of strain and the potential moderating role that coping
plays. Results indicate that individual factors are not significantly related to strain, but
the work environment as a whole significantly contributes to teachers experience of
strain. Coping skills did not moderate this relationship. Discussion focuses on the
implications of these findings for Head Start policies regarding teachers, particularly
given the potential for improved work environment stressors to lower the experience of
strain, and thereby reduce burnout and turnover.

Teacher Stress vi
CONTENTS
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

viii

Chapter
1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Stress and Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Burnout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

General Occupational Stress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Models of Occupational Stress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

11

Occupational Stress and Teachers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

14

Coping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

16

Occupational Stress and Preschool Teachers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

17

The Head Start Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

19

2. Purpose of Study and Hypothesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

23

3. Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

27

Participants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

27

Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

28

Design and Procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

31

4. Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

33

Descriptive Statistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

33

Interrelationships between Study Variables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

33

First Hypothesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

35

Second Hypothesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

35

Teacher Stress vii


Third Hypothesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

36

5. Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

38

Implications and Suggestions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

40

Limitations of the Current Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

45

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

48

Appendix A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

55

Appendix B . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

56

Appendix C . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

57

Appendix D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

61

Appendix E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

67

Appendix F . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

68

Teacher Stress viii


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Figure
1. Yerkes and Dodson, 1908 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2.

Karasek, 1979 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

11

3.

Kyriacou and Sutcliffe, 1978a . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

14

1. Reliability of Subscales and Scales from the OSI-R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

33

2. Intercorrelations among Individual Factors,


Work Environment, Coping and Strain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

34

3. Hierarchical Regression: Unique and Additive


Contribution of Individual Factors and Work
Environment Factors to the Prediction of Strain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

36

4. Hierarchical Regression: Unique and Additive


Contribution of Work Environment Factors and
Coping to the Prediction of Strain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

37

Table

Teacher Stress 1
Chapter 1
Introduction
Opinions regarding the cost of stress to businesses vary greatly, but it is estimated
that somewhere between $150 and $300 billion is spent annually as a result of stress in
the workplace (American Institute of Stress, n.d.; Goldin, 2004). This price tag includes
accidents, employee turnover, absenteeism, diminished productivity, direct medical,
legal, and insurance costs, as well as workers compensation. Incidental absences from
work (unscheduled and typically due to stress or illness) cost employers an average of
4.4% of their payroll in 2003 (Business & Health, 2004).
In our country today, stress has become one of the leading causes of health
problems for working Americans. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health [NIOSH] (1997) notes that the effects of stress can have life-long consequences
for workers. Stress can lead to physical conditions such as heart problems, high bloodpressure, and muscle tension as well as psychological conditions such as anxiety and
depression.
The individual effects of stress in the workplace may have significant effects not
only on an individuals health, but also on relationships and the quality of life
experienced. As occupational stress increases, work demands may begin to conflict with
personal and family demands causing a work-family conflict (Boles, Johnston, & Hair,
1997). Workers may be required to bring work home to meet deadlines (Greenhaus &
Beutell, 1985) or to travel for extended periods of time away from their family. When
occupational stress has a spillover effect into home-life it makes it more difficult for

Teacher Stress 2
individuals to be fully engaged in relationships with friends, family, and loved ones
(Greenhaus, Bedeian, & Mossholder 1987; Carlson & Kacmar, 2000). Brotheridge and
Lee (2005) found that workers viewed it as more acceptable to allow work to interfere in
their home-lives rather than allowing their home-lives to interfere with work. Their
findings indicate that occupational stressors have a more severe impact on home life than
home-related stressors do on occupational life.
However, occupational stress is not always to blame for the health and
relationship issues that individuals face. In some instances, occupational stress may
actually originate in situations occurring in an individuals home-life. Home-related
difficulties may have damaging effects on an individuals ability to function productively
in the workplace, leading to difficulty concentrating, wasting time, or rushing through
tasks (Schieman, McBrier, & van Gundy, 2003). Thus, stress in both areas of an
individuals life may interact with deleterious effects on work performance and outside
relationships.
The realities of occupational stress are daunting particularly when one considers
that the impact of stress may extend beyond the worker and their family. Depending
upon the workers profession, the consequences of stress can be costly to others with
whom the individuals profession brings them into contact.
There is a vast amount of research beginning in 1908 with Yerkes and Dodson
which shows that stress and performance are intimately linked together. For example, in
the healthcare professions, the effects of stress may lead to medical mistakes with
damaging or deadly consequences. Hospital nurses who are on rotating shifts and those

Teacher Stress 3
with sleep deprivation symptoms are more likely to have increased errors in their work
performance (Gold, Rogacz, Bock, Tosteson, Baum, Speizer, & Czeisler, 1992). In the
transportation professions, occupational stress and work demands may lead to an increase
in risky behaviors such as speeding (Greiner, Ragland, Krause, Syme & Fisher, 1998).
Specific to this study, in the teaching profession, job-related stressors can make it
difficult for teachers to effectively carry out their occupational duties. Studies have
shown that teachers who experience a great deal of occupational stress may have
difficulty establishing rapport and maintaining meaningful relationships with their
students (Kyriacou 2001; Kyriacou & Sutcliffe 1978b), therefore these teachers may have
difficulty motivating their students in the classroom and meeting educational goals.
According to Karaseks (1979) model, teachers would likely fall into the high
strain job category, meaning teachers have high job demands, and little decision-making
ability. Because the teaching profession can be considered a high strain job, teachers
are at risk for a variety of physical, emotional, and psychological problems which will be
presented later on. These stressors and their negative effects contribute to the high
attrition rate among teachers.
The National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future (NCTAF) (2003)
noted that one third of new teachers nationally will leave the profession during their first
three years teaching, and almost half will leave by the time they have taught for five
years. Without including teacher retirement, NCTAF noted that leaving teachers
exceeded entering teachers during the 1999-2000 school-year by 23 percent. It is
noteworthy that teacher attrition is nearly 50% higher among those schools serving low-

Teacher Stress 4
income, urban, minority, at-risk students; students such as those attending a variety of
Head Start centers around the country.
This study will focus specifically on occupational stress for those teachers
involved in the formative pre-school years of at-risk childrens lives. Little is known
about the experience of and factors contributing to teacher-stress for Head Start teachers.
This dearth of literature is concerning considering the unique services offered by Head
Start agencies, as specified by the program:
The Head Start program has a long tradition of delivering comprehensive
and high quality services designed to foster healthy development in low-income
children. Head Start grantee and delegate agencies provide a range of
individualized services in the areas of education and early childhood
development; medical, dental, and mental health; nutrition; and parent
involvement. In addition, the entire range of Head Start services is responsive
and appropriate to each childs and familys developmental, ethnic, cultural, and
linguistic heritage and experience (Office of Head Start, 2006a, 3).
By providing valuable services to at-risk children, Head Start provides a positive
and encouraging environment in which they can begin to learn the skills necessary for
future academic success. However, in order to support the children served by Head Start,
the special needs of the teachers must be met as well. By evaluating how individual
factors and characteristics in the work environment as well as how the use of coping
strategies might impact the experience of occupational stress among teachers in the Head
Start system, better support and training can be offered to decrease those sources of stress
and increase coping skills.
In the sections that follow an overview of the literature on general stress and
performance will be provided. The evolving literature on occupational stress and its
contributing factors will be explored as it paved the way for the study of teacher stress.

Teacher Stress 5
Finally, an overview of the development of the Head Start program and an exploration of
the unique occupational stressors that teachers face will be presented.
Stress and Performance
Stress is intimately linked with an individuals ability to perform different types
of tasks. Two early researchers who looked for a relationship between stress and
performance were Robert Yerkes and John Dodson (1908). Using rats and electric shock,
Yerkes and Dodson found a significant relationship between the level of stress and the
performance of their rats. Figure 1 shows that relationship.
Figure 1. Yerkes and Dodson, 1908

This diagram shows that moderate levels of stress may actually be beneficial for
enhancing learning and performance. As the stress level increased, the rats performance
on the learning task correspondingly increased to a certain point. The point at which the
stressor (in this case an electric shock) became too much to bear, performance levels
began to make a steep decline.
In the years following Yerkes and Dodsons (1908) findings, researchers began to
seek applications for these findings in the workplace. Deffenbacher (1994) notes that the
researchers following Yerkes and Dodson had the tendency to view stress and anxiety as
solely physiological phenomena (e.g., heart rate, respiration, skin temperature, and

Teacher Stress 6
cortisol and norepinephrine levels). Deffenbacher argues that the unidimensional theory
of stress and arousal presented by Yerkes and Dodson fails to account for differing
patterns of physiological responses to the same emotion in different organisms. Meaning,
people react differently to stress.
In looking at Yerkes and Dodsons (1908) model Fazey and Hardy (as cited in
Deffenbacher, 1994) noted that although small reductions in stress during extremely
stressful situations should return an individual to an optimal level of functioning, in
athletes this was not the case. Frequently, when an extreme level of stress had been
reached, a reduction in stress was not sufficient to return a player to even a mediocre
level of performance in the short term. They called this a performance catastrophe.
Fazey and Hardy theorized that cognitive anxiety was likely involved in determining
whether physiological arousal resulted in minor or catastrophic changes in performance.
This indicated that stress should be examined as being multidimensional, as having
environmental components, and components unique to the individuals.
Individual differences in reactions to environmental stressors are complex and
vary. Based on the various models of stress and performance presented it would appear
that moderate levels of stress in the workplace may actually serve to increase
performance and productivity to a point. While some individuals may be able to cope
with high-stress environments, other employees with fewer coping skills or resources
may see their performance decrease dramatically. It is during these high-stress situations
that employees may begin to feel the fatigue and frustration of what is often called
burnout.

Teacher Stress 7
Burnout
Burnout is a term commonly used to describe the feelings of exhaustion and
dissatisfaction brought on by prolonged exposure to a high-stress environment. While
burnout may be derived from vastly different circumstances, nearly all organisms react in
a similar manner to prolonged stress exposure.
Hans Selye (1936), another pioneer in the field of stress response research,
described three stages which became known as the general adaptation syndrome for
stressful situations. The first stage of the stress reaction is the alarm reaction, in which
the stressor elicits an immediate response known as fight or flight syndrome. During
this initial stage, the body becomes ready for physical activity. This surge of activity
may decrease the effectiveness of the immune system, leaving the individual less able to
fight off disease after the situation has passed.
In the second stage, the adaptation or resistance stage, if the stressor continues to
be present, the body begins to adapt to the stressor by creating a new homeostatic base.
That is, the body works to minimize the effects of the stressor by telling itself to function
normally at this new level of stress. This stage can only be maintained for a period of
time however and if the stressor persists, the body will relapse into immune
susceptibility.
The final stage of the stress reaction is the exhaustion phase. It is in this phase
that the result of on-going stressors may place an individual at risk for serious health
problems. The stressor has been so prolonged or frequently repeated that the body can no
longer maintain homeostasis and it is opened up to disease or infection. Prolonged

Teacher Stress 8
exposure to a stressful work environment, for example, can lead to high blood pressure
which, over time, may result in a heart attack.
While Selyes work focused on the physiological nature of stress and burnout, it
was Herbert Freudenberger (1974) who first coined the term burnout and defined it in
psychological terms. Fredenberger defined burnout as being the loss of motivation due to
the failure of a relationship to produce desired results. Meaning that when an
individuals relationships (with the job itself or with the individuals in that setting) are
not rewarding and fail to meet expectations, the individual loses the motivation to engage
and be productive.
Maslach and Jackson (1981) refined the concept of burnout and categorized it into
three subdomains; emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal
accomplishments. In the emotional exhaustion subdomain individuals tend to feel
emptied of personal emotional resources and become highly vulnerable to stressors.
With depersonalization comes a distancing of oneself from others. Individuals also tend
to view others impersonally when experiencing depersonalization. Finally, burnout
affects personal accomplishments by leading an individual to devalue their own work and
the work of others.
Not surprisingly, burnout is most prevalent among those in the helping
professions (Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001). Individuals in the helping professions
engage in intense, emotional relationships with people over an extended period of time,
and it is this inability for the worker to manage their own emotional experience that leads
to the experience of burnout. Because burnout can affect not only the individual worker,

Teacher Stress 9
but the services they provide to others, researchers have placed particular interest in the
study of the occupational stressors that contribute to burnout. For each occupation there
are different stressors and challenges that individuals must face which affect the success
and happiness of their career.
General Occupational Stress
Within the literature on occupational stress, there are three common areas of
study. First, the characteristics of the work environment, including the physical,
environmental, and emotional climate of the workplace, has been studied with regard to
its role in occupational stress. The second area frequently studied addresses the specific
characteristics of the individual, including physical, psychological, and socio/economic
characteristics, which may lead to higher levels of stress in a given occupation. The third
area which receives much attention in occupational stress literature is the effect or
experience of stress itself, which is strain. The effects of stress can include physical and
emotional consequences which can compound to create an even more stressful situation
than previously existed.
Work environment stressors include different factors such as the conditions of
where an individual works, the available resources, freedom of decision making, and the
amount of work a person is expected to complete (Guglielmi & Tatrow, 1998). Another
factor that contributes to occupational stress in the work environment is the setup of the
physical environment. The amount of space an individual has to work in, the level of
noise, and even factors such as needing to work with water and being wet, all play a key
role in contributing to the level of occupational stress.

Teacher Stress 10
Second, the specific characteristics of an individual play a key role in
occupational stress. These factors may include the amount of resources available to an
individual outside of the workforce, their relationships, gender, ethnicity, and even body
type (Schwartz, Pickering, & Landsbergis, 1996). Also, the psychological characteristics
of an individual may contribute to the level of occupational stress. Individuals who are
less able to cope with criticism or individuals who are driven for perfection may
experience higher levels of stress while on the job (Guglielmi & Tatrow, 1998).
Finally, the effect of stress on an individual, which for this study will be called
strain, can have very real physical and emotional repercussions to individual well-being.
Strain can lead to increased instances of illness and high blood pressure, and may have a
negative impact on cardiovascular health (Guglielmi & Tatrow, 1998). Factors in the
work environment and the various individual factors mentioned can also lead to
psychological problems such as anxiety and depression (Schieman, McBrier, & Van
Gundy, 2003; Halpern, 2005; Matjasko & Feldman, 2006).
When individuals are unable to cope with occupational stress they may turn to
self-soothing behaviors which are even more detrimental to the social and emotional
health of an individual including drinking, drug abuse, skipping work, or overeating
(Halpern, 2005; Kudielka et al., 2005).
While there are many factors that have an effect on an individuals experience of
occupational stress, it is unclear how these factors can lead to different experiences of
occupational stress for different professions. The following section will explore the

Teacher Stress 11
development of different models of occupational stress and the ways that these factors
can lead to different experiences of occupational stress.
Models of Occupational Stress
The early models of occupational stress, similar to the early models of stress and
performance (Yerkes & Dodson, 1908), focused specifically on the environment in which
the individual is located. Since the mid 1970s, researchers have looked at different ways
that factors in the work environment interact to contribute to the experience of
occupational stress and the level of strain experienced.
Pioneer researcher Karasek (1979) identified two important variables which
contribute to the level of strain experienced in the workplace: Job demands and job
decision latitude. The job demands category includes many of those factors previously
discussed which are present in the work environment such as tasks and responsibilities.
The category of job decision latitude includes the amount of control that an individual
worker can assert over choices in the workplace. These two variables interact in various
ways, producing four different categories of jobs. Figure 2 illustrates the possible
interactions of Karaseks two main variables.
Figure 2. Karasek, 1979
JOB DEMANDS

JOB
DECISION
LATITUDE

Low

High

Low

PASSIVE
JOB

HIGH STRAIN
JOB

High

LOW STRAIN
JOB

ACTIVE
JOB

Teacher Stress 12
The first category predicted by this model is the amount of strain produced by the
various interactions between job demands and decision latitude. The lowest amount of
strain will likely result from settings where there are low demands and a great deal of
control over the decision-making process. The amount of strain a person experiences
increases as job demands increase. The greatest amount of strain can be expected from
situations in which there are very high job demands and little control over decision
making.
A second category predicted by this model is the competency and skill level of the
job. As job demands and decision control increase the amount of activity both on and off
the job is predicted to increase according to Karaseks (1979) model. Therefore, those
jobs that have a high level of demand and a high level of decision latitude are labeled as
active jobs, and those with a low level of demand and a low level of decision latitude
are labeled as passive jobs. Karasek notes that active jobs are often associated
with higher levels of satisfaction and lower levels of strain, whereas passive jobs often
leave workers feeling unhappy.
This landmark model of occupational stress changed the course of psychosocial
research in the workplace. However, as researchers began to apply Karaseks model to
different studies, it became evident that while this model adequately addressed the factors
in the work environment which affected occupational stress, it failed to account for
individual factors that play a part in the experience of occupational stress.
Research began to demonstrate that high job demands and a lack of decision
latitude were not the only sources of stress in the workplace (Johnson & Hall, 1988;

Teacher Stress 13
Payne & Fletcher, 1983), giving rise to the second frequently studied area in the field of
occupational stress literature, the individual characteristics that contribute to the
experience of occupational stress.
Researchers found that high-stress settings were often paired with lacking support
and fewer resources, which in turn contributed to high levels of strain. So, in 1990,
Karasek and Theorell adapted their model to incorporate a third factor, workplace
support, thereby creating the Job Demands-Control-Support model of occupational stress.
In this model, those individuals experiencing the most strain fell in the iso-strain group.
This group of jobs is characterized by high job demands, low job control, and a low level
of social support. Without adequate support and resources, it is more difficult for
individuals to stay in a high-strain job than for those who have more support and
available resources to help them cope with their stressors.
When an individual is unable to do their job due to the experience of strain, the
effects of occupational stress can have devastating consequences. In some professions,
the consequences of stress affect few people outside of the individual, whereas in other
professions the consequences of strain may have long-lasting negative effects. In the
realm of education, the effects of stress are felt not only by the teacher, but by the
children as well.
In 1977, Kyriacou began to take notice of the unique stressors that teachers face
when working in economically disadvantaged areas. His work opened the door into the
educational arena for occupational researchers. When reflecting on his 1977 publication,
he stated (Kyriacou, 2001) As far as I know, that was the first time the term teacher

Teacher Stress 14
stress had appeared in the title of a paper. Since then teacher stress has become a major
topic of research throughout the world.
Occupational Stress and Teachers
For individuals involved in the teaching profession, the causes of stress may be
vast and include both work environment and individual characteristics. Kyriacou (2001)
notes that there are ten significant stressors that teachers face: teaching students who lack
motivation, maintaining discipline, time pressures and workload, coping with change,
being evaluated by others, dealing with colleagues, self-esteem and status issues,
problems dealing with administration or management, role conflict and ambiguity, and
poor working conditions.
In defining the term teacher stress, Kyriacou states that it is the experience by
a teacher of unpleasant, negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, tension, frustration or
depression, resulting from some aspect of their work as a teacher (Kyriacou, 2001, p.
28). Kyriacou and Sutcliffe (1978a) developed a model of teacher stress that focused on
the teachers perception of how their work affected themselves personally. Van Dick and
Wagner (2001) present a simplified version of Kyriacou and Sutcliffes (1978a) model in
Figure 3.
Figure 3. Kyriacou and Sutcliffe, 1978a

Characteristics
of the
Individual
Teacher
biography
personality
e.g., support
self-efficacy

Teacher Stress
Potential
Stressors

Coping
Mechanisms

Chronic
Symptoms
negative effects

physical
psychologica
l

to reduce
perceived
threat

response correlates
psychological
physiological
behavioral

psychosomatic
coronary
mental

Teacher Stress 15
In this model, given the individual characteristics of the teacher (e.g., level of
education, years of teaching, difficulty using classroom management strategies), if a
teacher feels that his/her self-esteem or well-being is being threatened by potential
stressors in the physical or psychological work environment such as excessive job
demands, and a lack of decision making control (Karasek, 1979), a coping attempt might
be triggered to reduce the threat. A coping attempt may include engaging in fun
activities, taking time off, seeking support in the work environment, reorganizing oneself,
or avoiding confrontation (Kyriacou, 2001). If the coping mechanism is unsuccessful, a
negative emotional experience will be triggered, leading to psychological, physiological,
or behavioral experiences of strain. This experience of stress has many negative effects
on teachers with regard to their mental, emotional, and physical well-being including
impaired health, reduced self-confidence and self-esteem, and damage to personal
relationships (Howard & Johnson, 2004).
In a meta-analysis of the literature on stress, burnout, and health, Guglielmi and
Tatrow (1998) overwhelmingly found that teachers experiencing strain are more likely to
be in poor health, which appears to support Kyriacou and Sutcliffes (1978a) model of
teacher stress. These damaging effects often will increase the amount of strain that a
teacher is experiencing, making it that much more difficult to do an effective teaching
job. In order to combat the high rate of attrition already noted, many teachers will seek to
alleviate occupational stressors and the experience strain through various coping
strategies.

Teacher Stress 16
Coping
Lazarus and Folkman (1984) classify two types of coping: Problem-focused and
emotion-focused. Problem-focused coping strategies would be things that the teacher can
do to directly affect the source of stress. This would include increased organization,
learning new skills, or negotiating with colleagues (Kyriacou, 2001). Emotion-focused
coping strategies aim to affect the emotions that surround the problem, and not the
problem itself. These can be mental or physical (Kyriacou, 2001). Physical strategies
would include anything that increases relaxation or releases tension and anxiety, whereas
mental strategies would seek to help the teacher reappraise the situation. Emotionfocused strategies can also fall into the category of avoidant coping strategies (Dalton,
Elias, & Wandersman, 2001). These strategies are aimed at the denial or avoidance of
the stressor, and may increase the stressors in the long term.
Sinclair (1992) for example, studied the long-term effects of coping strategies for
teachers and found that many of the techniques (avoidant coping strategies) that teachers
use to relieve tension such as drinking or smoking can cause greater levels of strain over
time. When these techniques fail to work because of health problems or absenteeism,
teachers may be forced into intensive medical care or a state of unemployment which
escalates the stressors in their lives. Several studies have suggested more adaptive
methods for coping with the stress of teaching such as seeking support from colleagues,
organizing time, prioritizing work tasks, avoiding conflict with coworkers, and increasing
competency in the classroom (Howard & Johnson, 2004; Riccio, 1983). These coping

Teacher Stress 17
strategies would appear to have a protective effect on the physical and psychological
health of the teacher.
Occupational Stress and Preschool Teachers
Though the above models of occupational stress among teachers are welldeveloped and validated, it has been suggested that occupational stress might vary
according to teachers of different student age groups. As Kristensen (1995) noted, there
are innumerable factors that may affect occupational stress for teachers. The particular
school demographics, including its location, whether it is public or private, rural or urban,
the age of the students, and the position of the teacher in the classroom are all potential
stressors.
In particular, preschool teachers are faced with stressors and challenges that are
unique to their positions and the needs of young children. Preschool teachers need to be
vigilant and identify any special learning needs of young children (Kelly & Berthelsen,
1995). It is during this early stage of development that identifying special-needs children
is critical for students future success. Furthermore, preschool teachers also have to
manage both individual and group behavior. Behavior management can be difficult when
attending to the behavior needs of an individual child sacrifices the needs of the whole
group.
Teachers in the preschool environment are also faced with many non-teaching
tasks. The preschool teachers role is extended to equipment and material purchaser,
secretary, cleaner, liaison officer with students, sales representatives, and profile and
report writer (Kelly & Berthelsen, 1995, p. 352). Added to these demands are the

Teacher Stress 18
developmental screenings that many preschools require their teachers to perform on each
student.
Preschool teachers might also feel strain when their expectations and ideology
about their job are not able to be achieved. When teachers are repeatedly unable to do the
job that they at one time enjoyed, it can cause an extreme amount of dissatisfaction.
Many preschool teachers have the desire to stimulate young minds and to help their
talents begin to emerge. This reality is often stifled by the barriers of physical resources
for the children, or competing behavioral demands for the teachers attention. Litt and
Turk (1985) found that conflicting role demands such as amount of work versus quality
of work significantly increased teachers experience of stress. They also noted that the
conflict between their job demands and the needs of the students caused significant strain
in teachers.
Finally, preschool teachers occupational stressors might include the attitude of
the parents about the preschool environment. Kelly and Berthelsen (1995) note that with
the rise of single-parent families, many parents are required to use preschool as an
affordable alternative to daycare for their children. This can create stress for the teachers
when the parents fail to recognize and participate in the educational aspects of preschool.
Often teacher requests are ignored or seen as being optional in the parents mind.
In general, according to Karaseks (1979) model, preschool teachers would likely
fall into the high strain job category. Preschool teachers often have very high job
demands and very low job decision latitude. As noted, this type of work environment is
the most likely to lead to high levels of strain while on the job. For those preschool

Teacher Stress 19
teachers who work in the Head Start program, these factors are merely a portion of the
stressors that they face. In order to fully understand some of the specific occupational
stressors affecting preschool teachers in the Head Start program, a brief review of the
program is necessary.
The Head Start Program
The Head Start program was founded in 1964 by the Federal Government in
response to the specific needs of economically disadvantaged children. In 1965, the
Office of Economic Opportunity launched the program as a means of providing families
of three, four, and five year-olds a program to meet their emotional, social, health,
nutritional, and psychological needs. The program became an instant success and was
adopted by all 50 States. In 1969, Head Start was transferred to the Office of Child
Development in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Today Head
Start is located within the Administration on Children, Youth and Families in the
Department of Health and Human Services. (Office of Head Start, 2006b)
Head Start is distinct from a regular preschool setting because it is government
funded. Head Start centers are typically located in community-based, non-profit settings.
There are numerous government regulations that are followed in order to receive grant
money, whereas a typical preschool environment has little government involvement in
planning and regulations and thus relatively more job decision latitude and fewer job
demands.
While preschool teachers face many unique challenges in the teaching profession,
Head Start teachers arguably face some of the greatest difficulty with managing their

Teacher Stress 20
classrooms. Regardless of the typical work environment stressors of this profession,
many teachers individual characteristics might set them up for a high amount of strain.
For example, Head Start teachers may lack the formal training that many traditional
preschool teachers receive. While actual numbers vary from site to site, the Head Start
program is currently run in such a way that only 50% of teachers nationwide are required
to have an associates degree at the time of hire (Office of Head Start, 2006c). Recent
survey data (Office of Head Start, 2006d,) indicates that nationwide, 69% of Head Start
teachers have at least an associates degree in Early Childhood Education. While these
numbers are encouraging, the statistics vary from center to center, and nationwide nearly
one in three teachers have little or no formal training in early childhood education.
In December of 2007, President Bush signed the Improving Head Start for School
Readiness Act of 2007 (2007) into law. New staff educational requirements require that
by September 30, 2013 at least 50% have a baccalaureate or advanced degree in early
childhood education or a related field and all teaching assistants have at least a child
development associate credential, have enrolled in a program leading to an associate or
baccalaureate degree; or have enrolled in a child development associate credential
program to be completed within two years.
In addition to the current low educational requirements of Head Start, few sites
are able to pay competitive salaries to their teachers. The National Institute for Early
Education Research (2003) estimates that the average public school teacher earns
approximately twice the average salary a Head Start teacher earns. The Center for Law
and Social Policy (2007) noted that the average salary for a head teacher was $24,737 and

Teacher Stress 21
for those holding a bachelors degree, $27,598. It was also noted that 15 percent of
teachers left the program at some point during the year and 30 percent of those reported
leaving for higher compensation or benefits in the field. With the minimal salaries and
benefits offered to Head Start teachers, obtaining formal training is not a financial
opportunity available to most teachers, thereby decreasing their opportunities to obtain
the educational skills necessary to ease their occupational stressors.
Also, Head Start teachers who have not been formally trained may find it more
difficult to manage classroom behavior without the skills and understanding of behavioral
management techniques. Without these skills teachers may become frustrated and
overwhelmed by compounding behavioral issues in the classroom, thereby increasing
their level of experienced strain. As noted earlier (Kyriacou & Sutcliffe, 1978a) when a
teacher feels that their emotional or mental well-being is threatened an attempt is made to
reduce that threat. When teachers are unable to manage classroom behavior despite
repeated attempts to change the situation, a negative emotional experience is triggered,
leading to feelings of physical, emotional, or mental strain.
Finally, many Head Start centers serve children who are considered to be at-risk
populations. These centers often serve those children who have a low-income status, live
in urban neighborhoods, and may have a high percentage of minority students. The
NCTAF (2003) has noted that teachers who teach in these areas often have the highest
percentage of novice teachers and the highest turnover rates. As already noted, the
majority of teachers who leave the profession, choose to do so within the first five years
of teaching (NCTAF, 2003). This may indicate that those teachers who have been

Teacher Stress 22
employed for a shorter period of time may experience higher levels of strain. Thus, one
important individual characteristic that might contribute to occupational stress is the
number of years the teacher has been in the position.

Teacher Stress 23
Chapter 2
Purpose of Study and Hypothesis
Though much is understood about occupational stress among teachers in general,
little is known about the stressors preschool teachers, and those in the Head Start program
in particular, face. The current study sought to better understand the factors which may
contribute to the job demands of Head Start teachers, thereby increasing the occupational
stressors and experience of strain for teachers.
Based on the models of teacher and occupational stress presented earlier
(Kyriacou & Sutcliffe, 1978a; Karasek 1979), several factors were chosen which may
contribute to the occupational stressors experienced by Head Start teachers. It is
important to note that the current study was not a test of these models, rather the models
were used as the basis for identifying potential occupational stressors among the
population of Head Start preschool teachers.
Though there were many individual variables within these models of teacher and
occupational stress that were found to impact strain, three specific individual variables
were chosen for this study due to their particular relevance to the Head Start setting.
These variables included the educational level of the teachers, the length of employment
at Head Start, and the perceived difficulty using behavior and classroom management
techniques. Educational level was chosen as a variable because only 50% of Head Start
teachers nationwide are required to have an associates degree at the time of hire (Office
of Head Start, 2006c), as opposed to the elementary teachers often studied in the teacher
stress literature. Length of employment at Head Start was chosen because, as previously

Teacher Stress 24
noted, most teachers who choose to leave the profession do so within the first five years
and schools with the highest percentages of novice teachers are those in low-income,
urban settings, settings served by many Head Start centers (NCTAF, 2003). Finally,
based on interactions in various Head Start centers, researchers involved in the current
study noticed that teachers and center directors were repeatedly asking for training in
behavioral and classroom management strategies. That finding paired with low
educational requirements caused perceived difficulty using behavior and classroom
management techniques to stand out as a unique variable for the Head Start setting.
The dependent variable of strain was measured in terms of the teachers reported
experience of strain that they attribute to their job, their psychological and emotional
experience of strain, the strain attributed to interpersonal relationships, and the physical
strain experienced by the teachers.
Because Kyriacou and Sutcliffe (1978a) view these variables as having a
hierarchical relationship, this study analyzed the data through the use of a hierarchical
multiple regression analysis which allowed variables to be entered sequentially. Entering
these variables sequentially provided the opportunity to explore the unique and additive
effects that the individual variables have on teachers report of strain.
The first hypothesis of this study was that educational level and length of
employment would each be negatively associated with teachers level of strain, difficulty
using teaching techniques would be positively associated with teacher strain, and all three
as a whole would significantly contribute to strain. Specifically, as the amount of
education that a teacher has received increases, it was predicted that the experience of

Teacher Stress 25
strain would decrease. It may be more difficult for teachers with less formal training to
manage classroom behavior and negotiate the difficult tasks of teaching in a preschool
setting, thereby increasing occupational stress.
Likewise, it was also predicted that as the length of employment increased, the
amount of strain would decrease. As previously noted, most teachers who choose to
leave the profession do so within the first five years and schools with the highest
percentages of novice teachers are those in low-income, urban settings, settings served by
many Head Start centers (NCTAF, 2003).
Finally, as teachers perceived difficulty implementing behavioral and classroom
management techniques increases, it was predicted that the amount of strain would
increase; teachers who perceive that they are less able to use classroom management and
teaching strategies might use them less frequently and thereby create a more stressful
classroom environment.
The second hypothesis of this study is that the work environment at Head Start
would contribute to the amount of strain experienced by teachers above and beyond these
individual variables. According to Kyriacou and Sutcliffe, (1978a), the work
environment variables are the potential stressors which can trigger a coping response. In
other words, the variables in the work environment such as job demands, work load, clear
expectations, good boundaries, responsibilities, and the physical environment would have
a unique and additive effect to teachers experience of strain, above and beyond the effect
that the three individual variables have on teacher strain. Specific to Head Start are the
numerous government regulations and added stressors related to early childhood care that

Teacher Stress 26
are absent in traditional elementary school settings. Having lower job decision latitude
and more job demands compared to the often-studied elementary school teachers, brought
this out as a unique variable for the Head Start setting.
The final hypothesis of this study was that the significant relationship between the
work environment and the teacher strain would be moderated by teachers use of
protective coping strategies. That is, the strength of the relationship between the work
environment and strain would be directly affected by a teachers willingness to engage in
regular relaxation, seek the support of those around them, and to use cognitive coping
skills. Teachers who engage in positive coping strategies might experience less strain
than those who do not utilize coping strategies. In Kyriacou and Sutcliffes (1978a)
model, when potential stressors in the work environment triggered a successful coping
attempt, a negative emotional experience (strain) was avoided.

Teacher Stress 27
Chapter 3
Method
Participants
Data for this study was collected during regular trainings for teachers and
teaching assistants in the fall of 2005. Participants for this study were gathered from
Head Start centers in the predominately Latino neighborhoods of Chicago. Participants
were chosen for this study primarily because of their occupation as a Head Start teacher
or teaching assistant. Head Start teachers and teaching assistants attend three workshops
annually conducted by a mental health consultant; during these workshops, teachers from
seven Head Start centers located in predominately Latino neighborhoods were invited to
participate in this study.
There were 40 participants in this study, 22 teachers and 18 teaching assistants
(one male, 39 female), between 20 and 56 years of age, with a mean of 36 years. The
ethnicity of the participants was as follows: 47.5% of the participants were Mexican or
Mexican American, 20% were Puerto Rican, 12.5% were African-American, 7.5 % were
Central American, 5 % were South American, 5% were Caucasian, and 2.5% were
Dominican. The average length of employment at Head Start for the participants was
five years and nine months, with a range of one month up to 16 years. Participants were
assumed to be bilingual English and Spanish speaking based on the requirement of
bilingual teaching in each classroom.
The average length of time that the teachers and teaching assistants had lived in
the United States was 25 years and six months, with a range of five years and nine

Teacher Stress 28
months up to 53 years. Of the Head Start teachers and teaching assistants that
participated in this study, 32.5% had attended at least some college, 52.5% of the
participants held an associates degree, and 12.5% held a bachelors degree; only 2.5% of
the participants had not attended any college. With regard to marital status, 55% of
participants were married, 30% were single, 7.5% were separated, 5% were divorced, and
2.5% were living with a partner. Finally, 2.6% of participants reported an annual
household income below $10,000, 28.9% reported household income of $11,000 $20,000, 57.9% reported household income of $21,000 - $30,000, 5.3% of reported
household income of $31,000 - $40,000, and 5.3% of participants reported annual
household income of more than $41,000.
Materials
Appendix A gives an overview of the dimensions of occupational stress assessed,
the specific factors related to teacher occupational stress for each dimension, and the
measures used to assess each factor. The teachers and teaching assistants were
administered three forms: (1) a Participant Information Form, (2) the Teacher Perceived
Ability Scale (TPAS), and (3) the Occupational Stress Inventory Revised Edition (OSI-R)
(Osipow, 1998). The Participant Information Form (Appendix B) was developed to
obtain demographic data on the participants in this study. The questions on this form
addressed employment, cultural/ethnic background, amount of time lived in the United
States, marital status, educational background, and socioeconomic status.
Difficulty Using Teaching Techniques. The Teachers Perceived Ability Scale
(TPAS) (Appendix C) was adapted from the Teachers Satisfaction Questionnaire, an

Teacher Stress 29
evaluation tool used by the University of Washington, Seattles Parenting Clinic, with
permission from C. Webster-Stratton (personal communication, April, 2005).
This tool was used as a way to measure a teachers self-reported abilities and
confidence in using classroom management techniques pre- and post- workshop as well
as their satisfaction with the workshops offered. For the current study, the 26-item
portion of the Teachers Satisfaction Questionnaire (named the Teachers Perceived
Ability Scale for the current study) that specifically asked teachers about the difficulty
with which they use specific teaching techniques (e.g., positive reinforcement, verbal
redirection, problem-solving strategies) was used to investigate reported confidence and
skill in using classroom management techniques. Teachers responded to these items with
a five-point Likert scale (ranging from 1 = very difficult to 5 = very easy). The raw
scores were summed, creating an overall score for the teachers difficulty using teaching
techniques. In the current study, this measure demonstrated adequate internal reliability
( = .80).
Work Environment, Strain, and Coping. The Occupational Stress Inventory
Revised Edition (OSI-R) (Appendix D) was used as a broad measure to look at stress and
coping in the workplace. The OSI-R is comprised of three measures. The Occupational
Roles Questionnaire (ORQ), measuring job demands and job control in the work
environment, is comprised of six scales. Teachers responded to items on this scale in a
five-point Likert scale (ranging from 1 = rarely or never true to 5 = true most of the time).
This scale includes 60 items from the Role Overload (RO) (e.g., work demands),
Role Insufficiency (RI) (e.g., work load), Role Ambiguity (RA) (e.g., expectations), Role

Teacher Stress 30
Boundary (RB), Responsibility (R), and Physical Environment (PE) (e.g., environmental
hazards) subscales. A total score named Work Environment was created by summing the
total score of all the items on this questionnaire.
The Personal Strain Questionnaire (PSQ), measuring the effect of stress on the
individual, is comprised of four subscales. This scale includes a total of 40 items from
the Vocational Strain (VS) (e.g., self-confidence and self-esteem), Psychological Strain
(PSY) (e.g., emotional health), Interpersonal Strain (IS) (e.g., health of individuals
relationships), and Physical Strain (PHS) (e.g., personal health and self-care) subscales.
A total score named Strain was created by summing the total score of all the items on this
questionnaire.
Finally, the Personal Resources Questionnaire (PRQ), measuring the use of
protective coping strategies, is comprised of four subscales. This scale includes a total of
40 items from the Recreation (RE), Self-Care (SC), Social Support (SS), and
Rational/Cognitive Coping (RC) subscales. A total score named Coping was created by
summing the total score of all items on this questionnaire. Appendix E displays a list of
the various domains and scales and a description of what each measures.
The OSI-R was originally validated with a sample of 983 participants, 85% of which
were Caucasian, 8% were African-American, and 4 % were Hispanic (Osipow, 1998, pp.
7). In terms of educational level, 27% held advanced degrees, 13% were college
graduates, 33% had attended some college, 26% held a high school degree, and 1% held
less than a high school degree. The occupational make-up of the participants was varied
and categorized to match occupational groups as defined by the Bureau of Labor

Teacher Stress 31
Statistics. Adequate reliability and validity for these measures have been reported
(Osipow, 1998, pp. 24-26). Test-retest reliability correlations were .61 for the ORQ, .74
for the PSQ, and .68 for the PRQ. Internal consistency for the OSI-R was high (.88 for
ORQ, .93 for PSQ, and .89 for PRQ).
Design and Procedure
The data for this study was collected in the fall of 2005 in conjunction with
mandatory in-service training workshops regularly scheduled for the teachers and
teaching assistants at the beginning of the school year. Participation in this study was not
mandatory, although attendance at the workshops was required. Participants were
informed that they had the opportunity to provide information to researchers looking at
two areas: the sources and causes of stress (for use in this study) and teachers perceived
competence (for use in another study) in Latino Head Start settings. All of the teachers
chose to participate in the study and fill out the questionnaires. Once the informed
consent (Appendix F) had been obtained, researchers gave instructions on how to
complete the questionnaires.
All questionnaires were administered in English by the two researchers. Because
many of the participants were bilingual, some questions or words were translated into
Spanish by one of the bilingual researchers when necessary. Administration of the
questionnaires took approximately 40-60 minutes. Participants were offered incentives
for completing the questionnaires. For each questionnaire turned in, the teacher or
teaching assistant was given a raffle ticket on which to write their name. At the

Teacher Stress 32
conclusion of the administration, one name was randomly drawn from a hat and the
winner was given a small prize costing less than $2.
The remaining hour of the workshop was used to present material that would be
typical of an in-service training. The researchers presented on topics that were of
importance to the directors of the respective centers. Topics of the workshops included
classroom management skills, managing individual behavior in the classroom, teamwork
in the school setting, preventing burn-out, and administering and scoring pre-school
screeners.

Teacher Stress 33
Chapter 4
Results
Descriptive Statistics
Descriptive statistics for the subscales and summed scales in the current study are
reported in Table 1. Adequate internal reliability (ranging from = .66 to .84) was found
for the summed scales and therefore, Work Environment, Coping, and Strain will be used
throughout the analyses.
Table 1 Reliability of Subscales and Scales from the OSI-R
Subscale
Role Overload
Role Insufficiency
Role Ambiguity
Role Boundary
Responsibility
Physical Environment
Vocational Strain
Psychological Strain
Interpersonal Strain
Physical Strain
Recreation
Self-Care
Social Support
Rational Coping

Cronbachs Alpha

Mean

Standard Deviation

.78
.70
.66
.65
.70
.82
.51
.84
.62
.84
.86
.72
.82
.92

3.08
2.17
1.76
2.28
2.56
2.25
1.96
2.04
2.31
2.59
3.0
2.96
4.19
3.67

.74
.67
.50
.66
.70
.83
.46
.74
.66
.92
.96
.80
.65
.91

.66
.84
.79

2.35
3.45
2.23

.42
.69
.56

Summed Scales
Work Environment
Coping
Strain

Interrelationships between Study Variables


Initial correlational analysis indicated that the individual variables of Educational
Background, Time Employed, and Difficulty Using Teaching Techniques were not
significantly related to teachers experience of Strain. However, as expected, a
significant positive association was found between teachers Strain and their reported

Teacher Stress 34
stressors in the Work Environment. Meaning that as the work environment stressors
increased, so too did the teachers experience of strain. Finally, a significant negative
association between teachers reported experience of Strain and their use of coping
strategies was found. That is, as teachers use of positive coping strategies increased
their reported stress decreased. These intercorrelations are presented in Table 2.
Table 2 Intercorrelations among Individual Factors, Work Environment, Coping and
Strain

Educational
Background
Time Employed

Educational
Background

Time
Employed

Work
Environment

.10

Difficulty using
Teaching
Techniques
.11

--

.14

.21

.01

--

.05

.24

-.23

.11

--

.22

.00

.16

Difficulty using
Teaching
Techniques
Work
Environment
Coping

Coping

--

Strain

.71**
--

Strain

-.51**
--

Note. *p<.05; **p<.01; ***p<.001

When the results are further analyzed via intercorrelations among Strain and the
subscales that comprise Work Environment (i.e., Role Overload, Role Insufficiency, Role
Ambiguity, Role Boundary, Responsibility, and Physical Environment), all of the Work
Environment subscales were significantly related to Strain (rs ranged from .36 to .61, p
< .05) with the exception of the Physical Environment subscale. The Physical
Environment subscale was unique because it was the only one of the six subscales that
did not address teachers roles or responsibilities. The Physical Environment subscale

Teacher Stress 35
addressed the material inadequacies and physical stressors in the environment, whereas
the other five subscales assessed the factors related to work demands, work load,
expectations, responsibility, and boundaries.
First Hypothesis
To address the first two hypotheses of this study, a hierarchical multiple
regression was conducted with Education, Time Employed, and Difficulty Using
Teaching Techniques entered into the first step of the equation, and Work Environment
entered into the second step. These results are presented in Table 3. The results of Step 1
indicate that contrary to expectations the individual factors of Educational Level, Time
Employed, and Difficulty Using Teaching Techniques did not significantly contribute to
teachers experience of Strain either uniquely or collectively.
Second Hypothesis
The second hypothesis of this study was that the work environment at Head Start
would contribute to the amount of strain experienced by teachers above and beyond these
individual variables. It was expected that Work Environment would contribute
significantly to teachers Strain with more of the variance of Strain accounted for than by
individual characteristics alone. Though Education Level, Time Employed, and
Difficulty Using Teaching Techniques did not contribute to teachers reported Strain,
Step 2 shows that Work Environment demands significantly accounted for 49% of the
variance in teachers reported experience of Strain. This positive relationship indicates
that as the Work Environment demands increase, so does the teachers experience of
Strain.

Teacher Stress 36

Table 3 Hierarchical Regression: Unique and Additive Contribution of Individual


Factors and Work Environment Factors to the Prediction of Strain
Predictors

Step 1
.04
.04
Education
Time Employed
Difficulty using teaching techniques
Step 2
.53
.49***
Education
Time Employed
Difficulty using teaching techniques
Work Environment
Note. F(4,34) = 9.4, p<.001 on overall regression analysis.
*p<.05; **p<.01; ***p<.001

-.03
.11
.17
-.08
-.06
-.00
.74***

Third Hypothesis
The final hypothesis of this study was that the significant relationship between the
Work Environment and Strain would be moderated by teachers use of protective Coping
strategies. To test this hypothesis a second hierarchical multiple regression was
conducted. Table 4 shows the results of the regression equation. In the first step of this
regression, the Work Environment scores were entered and shown to account for about
50% of the variance of Strain.
In the second step, Coping was added and accounted for an additional 16% of the
variance in Strain. In order to test for moderation, an interaction term was created and
entered into the final step of this regression equation. The moderation term was nonsignificant and did not account for additional variance in Strain. That is, there was no

Teacher Stress 37
linear moderating relationship; personal strain as a result of the work environment did not
decrease as the use of coping resources increased or vice-a-versa.
Table 4 Hierarchical Regression: Unique and Additive Contribution of Work
Environment Factors and Coping to the Prediction of Strain
Predictors

.51
.50***
Step 1
Work Environment
Step 2
.67
.16***
Work Environment
Coping
Step 3
.67
.01
Work Environment
Coping
Work Environment x Coping
Note. F(1,38) = 38.921, p<.001 on Step 1 regression analysis
F(2,37) = 37.320, p<.001 on Step 2 regression analysis
F(3,36) = 24.748, p<.001 on overall regression analysis
*p<.05; **p<.01; ***p<.001

.71***

.65***
-.41***
.31
-.78
.47

Teacher Stress 38
Chapter 5
Discussion
Based on the research by Kyriacou and Sutcliffe (1978a), it was expected that the
individual characteristics of the teacher would play a significant role in contributing to
teachers reported strain; however this study failed to find significant relationships
between individual characteristics and reported strain. What was intriguing was the
strong association between the work environment at Head Start and teachers reported
levels of strain. Additional regression analysis failed to show that the individual
characteristics subscales made unique contributions to strain, whereas the work
environment scale as a whole accounted for the reported strain. Teachers reported
perceptions of their work environment alone accounted for over 50% of the reported
strain experienced by teachers.
These results lead to the conclusion that though Head Start teachers may have
individual characteristics that place them at-risk for experiencing job stress (e.g., low
educational background, length of employment at Head Start, and difficulty using
behavior management techniques) it is the nature of the job (e.g., being given too much
work, having too much responsibility in the classroom, and having unclear expectations
and boundaries) that leads to the reported strain among teachers.
That is, the teachers in the current study in general did not have advanced
educational degrees and varied in the amount of time they had been working at Head
Start, but these characteristics were not uniquely or collectively associated with teachers
reported stress. As described by Kelly and Berthelsen (1995), teachers in the preschool

Teacher Stress 39
environment are faced with many non-teaching tasks which may lead to role ambiguity
and overload. These work environment stressors were reported by teachers in the current
study as well. Litt and Turk (1985) also found that feeling insufficient and overloaded
significantly contributed to teacher stress as corroborated by this studys findings.
Based on the work of Karasek and Theorell (1990) it was also expected that the
strength of the relationship between the work environment and strain would be directly
affected by the teachers willingness to engage in regular relaxation and recreational
activities, seek the support of those around them, and by their ability to use cognitive
coping skills. Coping skills did account for 16% of the variance of strain in the second
hierarchical regression equation; however, there was no moderating relationship. This
finding indicates that though coping skills are useful to the teachers, the strength of that
relationship between work environment stressors and strain is not altered by the use of
coping skills. Coping skills may help a teacher manage their level of strain, but do little
to make a change in the experience of work environment stressors and reported levels of
strain experienced on the job.
Kyriacou and Sutcliffe (1978a) hypothesized that an unsuccessful coping
mechanism leads to a negative emotional experience and thus to psychological,
physiological or behavioral experiences of strain and the results of this study did support
that theory. This study found that the use of coping skills was negatively associated with
strain. However, coping did not serve to moderate the relationship between work
environment stressors and strain. That is, regardless of the use of coping skills, because

Teacher Stress 40
of the significance of role and responsibility demands, the teachers work environment
stressors and thus their experience of strain remained constant.
Implications and Suggestions
Because of the valuable services that Head Start provides for children, caring for
the teachers who provide those services is of the utmost importance. Though there were
limitations to this study, namely the non-normative sample and the relatively small
number of participants, there are several tentative implications that can be drawn. Future
research should look at changes in the work environment at Head Start that could help
prevent prolonged experiences of strain which leads to burnout and turnover. This study
indicates that by addressing the perceived roles and responsibilities, and by clarifying
expectations and boundaries in the work environment, it may be possible to alter the
reported levels of strain experienced by Head Start teachers and in turn lower the
turnover rate.
It is this high rate turnover that has led to a perceived shortage of teachers
(Ingersoll, 2003a). The teacher shortage has been attributed to increasing student
enrollment and increasing teacher retirement, but the data from this study and others
suggests otherwise. Ingersoll (2003a) suggests that the shortage of staff is a result of the
large percentage (40-50%) of teachers that leave in the first five years for reasons other
than retirement. Nationwide, the top reason cited by elementary and secondary teachers
leaving the field or moving to another school is job dissatisfaction. When that reason is
broken down, teachers cite lack of support, a lack of control over decision-making in the
classroom, and low salaries (Ingersoll, 2003a) as reasons for leaving. With the exception

Teacher Stress 41
of salary, these findings of elementary and secondary teachers support the results from
this study and indicate that these areas need to be more fully explored and understood in
the preschool setting.
To address the need for more support in the preschool classroom, teacher
mentoring and comprehensive induction practices have shown reductions in elementary
and secondary teacher turnover rates as high as 50% (Alliance for Excellent Education,
2005). Induction programs differ from basic training (pre-service) and ongoing training
(in-service) in that they tend to be mentor-based programs for academically trained
teachers with little practical experience (Smith & Ingersoll, 2004). In DarlingHammonds (2003) research, one of the main reasons teachers leave the field is a lack of
mentoring support in the early years.
There are various types of induction programs, and research shows that teachers
of elementary and secondary children who are given a combination of supportive
induction practices have the highest rate of retention. Among the most helpful induction
components are having a common planning time with other teachers or the opportunity
for regular collaboration time on classroom instruction issues, being involved in an
external network of teachers, and having a mentor from the same field. Those elementary
and secondary teachers who are involved in a supportive induction program with those
components demonstrate the greatest reduced risk of turnover (Smith & Ingersoll, 2004).
Head Start currently provides in-service training for teachers, but what the
educational research suggests is that new Head Start teachers could be paired with a welltrained and experienced Head Start teacher who can provide support and guidance on the

Teacher Stress 42
most effective ways of balancing classroom roles and responsibilities. Experienced
teachers need to be released from their regular teaching duties for a year to serve as a
mentor, and consequently, a majority of mentors report that their own teaching improves
and becomes more effective by examining their strengths and passing those on to a newer
teacher (Smith & Ingersoll, 2004). Currently, Head Start teachers are paired with a
classroom teaching assistant, so it is possible that if new teachers were paired with an
experienced mentor for their first year of teaching, they would have a clearer picture of
their role in the Head Start center, improve their understanding of responsibilities and
boundaries, be less likely to feel overloaded, improve their efficacy and confidence, and
therefore be less likely to experience strain. Additionally, setting aside regular time for
lesson planning as a teacher group has also been shown to be an effective way of
reducing the experience of strain and improving teacher retention that might be helpful to
institute for Head Start teachers (Smith & Ingersoll, 2004).
To address role expectations and boundaries in the preschool setting studies of
elementary and secondary teachers have suggested that giving teachers more access to
administrators and policy makers reduces teacher turnover. Teachers who feel that they
have input into disciplinary issues and other key decisions that affect their teaching tend
to experience less conflict and have a lower rate of turnover (Ingersoll, 2003b).
Additionally, the use of mentors may aid in the facilitation of understanding role
expectations and boundaries. When experienced teachers are able to explain and instruct
newer teachers about teaching initiatives and requirements, it is likely to reduce the strain

Teacher Stress 43
on the newer teacher of needing to find and learning how to utilize tools and resources on
their own.
Although the work environment variables were found to be associated with
reported strain, the current study of Head Start teachers failed to show a significant
relationship between the individual variable of education level and the reported
experience of strain. What other studies have found (Jacob, 2007) is that more educated
teachers tend to be higher salaried and have a lower rate of turnover. It has been
suggested that those teachers in more highly paid positions were more adequately
prepared and hired by more affluent schools whose demographics seem to support lower
teacher turnover rates. This is one area that could be explored more fully; it seems that
uniformly raising salary requirements of Head Start teachers may increase the likelihood
of teacher retention, yet do little to alter the teachers experience of strain given the
demographics of Head Start centers themselves.
Similarly, with regard to education level, Jacob (2007) notes that many studies
have shown that education level does not seem to be correlated with effectiveness of
teaching. As presented in this study, education level had no significant relationship to the
experience of strain either. Therefore, it may be important for future research to focus
how teachers are prepared for the strain involved in teaching and the result on
effectiveness of teaching. Meaning that, mentoring and induction practices of new Head
Start teachers may have a greater effect on effectiveness, strain, and turnover rates than
improving salary and education level alone.

Teacher Stress 44
These findings and their potential implications come at an important time in Head
Start history. The Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 (2007) seems
to focus on improving the quality of education and salaries required for teachers.
Nationwide, the cost of replacing teachers for all ages of students who drop out of the
profession or change schools ranges from $2 to nearly $5 billion each year (Alliance for
Excellent Education, 2005). In 2003 it was estimated that the cost over eight years of
providing competitive salaries and benefits to teachers in the Head Start system with a
baccalaureate degree in early childhood, or assisting existing teachers in receiving a
degree would be approximately $5.1 billion (National Institute for Early Education
Research, 2003). The hope of this Act is that the cost of hiring and employing wellqualified teachers would reduce the high cost of attrition and eventually pay for itself.
What the results seem to suggest from the current study is that Head Start policies
might need to look at creating a more supportive environment through induction
programs or other means. By giving the teachers better supports, clearer expectations
and boundaries around responsibilities, and more control over classroom decision
making, it would be expected that the level of strain would significantly decrease, thereby
working to prevent burnout and turnover.
Finally, although the use of coping skills in this study did not help to alter the
reported work environment stressors, they did account for a significant percentage of the
teachers reported strain. Therefore, by focusing on improving healthy coping skills,
teachers can better cope with the stressors that they may face at work, thereby decreasing
their reported level of overall strain.

Teacher Stress 45
Through the combination of work environment changes and improved coping
skills, the strain on the teachers can be dramatically changed, leading to a better overall
environment for both employees and the children served by Head Start. A healthier and
more supportive work environment would serve to improve the quality of life for all
teachers, regardless of individual variables such as education and income level.
Limitations of the Current Study
There were several limitations to this study that may have affected the outcome of
the data. The largest limitation to this study is the participant sample. The participant
group was made up of primarily female Latinos working in predominately Latino Head
Start centers in Chicago. The size of the participant group should be increased as well to
improve the validity of the data. Future studies should include a larger and more
normative sample of ethnic and gender backgrounds, and geographic locations. The
individual variables in this study could have been affected by the relatively homogenous
makeup of the participant sample, and it is possible that a more normative sample may
have yielded significant findings with regard to strain. That is, there may be protective
factors related to ethnicity, gender, and the specific geographic location of this study that
were not accounted for. Exploring these as additional individual variables may have
yielded significant findings with regard to teachers experience of strain.
Another limitation to this study is that it included both teachers and teaching
assistants. It is likely that sources of stress in the work environment differ according to
the position held in the classroom. Although post hoc correlation analysis did not yield
significant differences among teacher and teaching assistants report of strain, more

Teacher Stress 46
detailed research with a larger sample size on the perceived work environment stressors
among these two groups could reveal key differences, and interventions should be
tailored to meet the needs of each group.
A third limitation to this study is the use of the Teachers Perceived Ability Scale
as a research tool. Though the TPAS has demonstrated adequate internal reliability in
this study, there are no normative data available at this point to provide standards to
compare against. It is also possible that there may be significant differences among
perceived confidence using specific types of behavior management techniques (e.g.,
praise vs. parental involvement vs. incentive programs) and the experience of strain.
However, since this scale did not address types of behavior management, those
differences were not explored. Additionally, due to the large percentage of Latino
participants in this study, ethnic and cultural differences could have played a role in
teachers perceived confidence using various types of behavioral management strategies
and the TPAS would not have been specific enough to detect those differences. Future
studies should look to use standardized tools with specific subscales that address the
teachers perceived abilities to use various types of behavioral management techniques in
the classroom.
Finally, the outcome of this study may have been affected by the average length
of time that the teachers had been employed at Head Start. The majority of teachers who
choose to leave the profession do so within the first five years (NCTAF, 2003). The
average length of time employed at Head Start for our participant sample was five years
and nine months. It is possible that because the average teacher had been employed for

Teacher Stress 47
just over five years, there are some protective factors that these teachers have in common
which was not assessed for in this study. If the sample size were increased to include a
greater number of teachers early in their career, it is possible that there may in fact be a
relationship between length of time employed and reported strain. Additionally,
additional protective and risk factors should be assessed to more fully understand the
individual Head Start teacher characteristics that contribute to resilience and strain among
teachers who pass that magical five-year mark.

Teacher Stress 48
References
Alliance For Excellent Education. (2005). Teacher Attrition: A Costly Loss to the Nation
and to the States. Retrieved December 18, 2008, from
http://all4ed.org/files/archive/publications/TeacherAttrition.pdf
American Institute of Stress (n.d.). Job stress. Retrieved January 7, 2006 from
http://www.stress.org/job.htm
Boles, J., Johnston, M., & Hair, J. (1997). Role stress, work-family conflict and
emotional exhaustion: Inter-relationships and effects on some work-related
consequences. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 17(1), 17-28.
Retrieved Friday, August 04, 2006 from the PsycINFO database.
Brotheridge, C., & Lee, R. (2005). Impact of Work-Family Interference on General WellBeing: A Replication and Extension. International Journal of Stress Management,
12(3), 203-221. Retrieved Friday, August 04, 2006 from the PsycINFO database.
Business & Health Institute. (2004, August). I wont be in todayThe dilemma of
incidental absence: A report from the Disability Management Employers
Coalition and Nucleus Solutions. Retrieved August 4, 2006 from
http://www.managedhealthcareexecutive.com/mhe/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=13
4274
Carlson, D.S., & Kacmar, K.M. (2000). Work-family conflict in the organization: Do life
role values make a difference? Journal of Management, 26(5), 1031-1054.
Center for Law and Social Policy. (2007.) Head Start Participants, Programs, Families
and Staff in 2006 . Retrieved January 17, 2009, from http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/

Teacher Stress 49
hslc/Professional%20Development/Staff%20Development/Teaching%20Teams/
prodev_art_00062_061307.html
Dalton , J.H., Elias, M.J., & Wandersman, A. (2001). Community Psychology: Linking
Individuals and Communities. Stamford, CT: Wadsworth Thomson Learning.
Darling-Hammond, L. (2003). Keeping good teachers: What leaders can do. Educational
Leadership, 60(8), 613.
Deffenbacher, K. (1994). Effects of arousal on everyday memory. Human Performance,
7(2), 141-161. Retrieved Friday, August 04, 2006 from the PsycINFO database.
Freudenberger, H. J. (1974). Staff burnout. Journal of Social Issues, 30(1), 159-165.
Goldin, R. (2004). Counting the costs of stress. Retrieved August 1, 2006 from the
Statistical Assessment Service website: http://www.stats.org/stories/2004/
counting_costs_stress_ sep23_04.htm
Gold, D.R., Rogacz, S., Bock, N., Tosteson, T.D., Baum, T.M., Speizer, F.E., & Czeisler,
C.A. (1992). Rotating shift work, sleep, and accidents related to sleepiness in
hospital nurses. American Journal of Public Health, 82(7), 1011 1014.
Greenhaus, J.H., & Beutell, N.J. (1985). Sources of conflict between work and family
roles [electronic version]. Academy of Anger Management Review, 10(1), 76-88.
Greenhaus, J., Bedeian, A., & Mossholder, K. (1987). Work experiences, job
performance, and feelings of personal and family well-being. Journal of
Vocational Behavior, 31(2), 200-215.
Greiner, B., Ragland, D., Krause, N., Syme, S., & Fisher, J. (1997). Objective

Teacher Stress 50
measurement of occupational stress factors: An example with San Francisco
urban transit operators. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 2(4), 325342. Retrieved Friday, August 04, 2006 from the PsycINFO database.
Guglielmi, R.S., & Tatrow, K. (1998). Occupational stress, burnout, and health in
teachers: A methodological and theoretical analysis. Review of Educational
Research, 68(1), 61-99.
Halpern, D. (2005). Psychology at the Intersection of Work and Family:
Recommendations for Employers, Working Families, and Policymakers.
American Psychologist, 60(5), 397-409. Retrieved Friday, August 04, 2006 from
the PsycINFO database.
Howard, S., & Johnson, B. (2004). Resilient teachers: Resisting stress and burnout.
Social Psychology of Education, 7, 399-420.
Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 Public Law 110134, 121
STAT. 1363 (2007). Retrieved January 16, 2009 from
http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/Program%20Design%20and%20Management/
Head%20Start%20Requirements/Head%20Start%20Act/HS_ACT_PL_110134.pdf
Ingersoll, R. M. (2003a). Is there really a teacher shortage? A research report. [Seattle,
Wash.]: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, University of Washington.
http://www.secstate.wa.gov/library/docs/uw/Shortage-RI-092003_2008_004154.pdf
Ingersoll, R. (2003b) Is there a shortage among mathematics and science teachers?

Teacher Stress 51
Science Educator 12(1), 1-9.
Jacob, B.A., (2007). The challenges of staffing urban schools with effective teachers.
[Electronic version] Future of Children,17(1), 129-153.
Johnson, J.V., & Hall, E.M. (1988). Job strain, work place social support, and
cardiovascular disease: A cross-sectional study of a random sample of the
Swedish working population. American Journal of Public Health, 78, 1336 1342.
Karasek, R.A. (1979). Job demands, job decision latitude, and mental strain: Implications
for job redesign. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24(2), 285-308.
Karasek, R.A., & Theorell, T. (1990). Healthy Work. Stress, Productivity, and the
Reconstruction of Working Life. New York: Basic Books.
Kelly, A.L., & Berthelsen, D.C. (1995). Preschool teachers experiences of stress.
Teaching and Teacher Education, 11(4), 345-357.
Kristensen, T.S. (1995). The demand-control-support model: Methodological challenges
for future research. Stress Medicine, 11, 17-26.
Kudielka, B., Hanebuth, D., von Knel, R., Gander, M., Grande, G., & Fischer, J. (2005).
Health-Related Quality of Life Measured by the SF12 in Working Populations:
Associations With Psychosocial Work Characteristics. Journal of Occupational
Health Psychology, 10(4), 429-440. Retrieved Friday, August 04, 2006 from the
PsycINFO database.
Kyriacou, C. (2001). Teacher stress: Directions for future research [Electronic version].
Educational Review, 53(1), 27-35.

Teacher Stress 52
Kyriacou, C., & Sutcliffe, J. (1978a). A model of teacher stress. Educational Studies, 4,
1-6.
Kyriacou, C. & Sutcliffe, J. (1978b). Teacher stress: prevalence, sources and symptoms.
British Journal of Educational Psychology, 48, 159-167.
Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer
Pub.
Litt, M. D., & Turk, D. C. (1985). Sources of stress and dissatisfaction in experienced
high school teachers. [Electronic version]. Journal of Educational Research,
78(3), 178-185.
Maslach, C. & Jackson, S. E. (1981). The measurement of experienced burnout. Journal
of Occupational Behavior, 2, 99-113.
Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W.B., & Leiter, M.P.. (2001). Job Burnout. Annual Reviews
Psychology 52, 397-422.
Matjasko, J., & Feldman, A. (2006). Bringing Work Home: The Emotional Experiences
of Mothers and Fathers. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(1), 47-55. Retrieved
August 04, 2006 from the PsycINFO database.
National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future (U.S.). (2003.) No dream
denied: A pledge to Americas children: summary report. Washington, DC.:
National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (1997, January 7). Stress at work.
Retrieved August 4, 2006, from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/stresswk.html
National Institute for Early Education Research. (2003) Investing in Head Start

Teacher Stress 53
teachers. In Preschool Policy Matter, 4. Retrieved September 20, 2008, from
http://nieer.org/resources/policybriefs/4.pdf
Office of Head Start. (2006a, June 15). General information. In About Head Start.
Retrieved July 26, 2006, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/hsb/about/
generalinformation/ index.htm
Office of Head Start. (2006b, June 15). Head Start history. In About Head Start.
Retrieved July 26, 2006, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/hsb/
about/history.htm
Office of Head Start. (2006c, June 15). Compilation of the Head Start Act: Staff
development and qualifications. In Budget and Policy. Retrieved July 26, 2006,
from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/hsb/budget/headstartact.htm#staff
Office of Head Start. (2006d, June 15). Head Start program fact sheet. In
Research/Statistics. Retrieved July 26, 2006, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/
programs/hsb/research/2006.htm
Osipow, S.H. (1998). Occupational Stress Inventory-Revised Edition (OSI-R):
Professional Manual. USA- Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.
Payne, R. L., & Fletcher, B. (1983). Job demands, supports, and constraints as predictors
of psychological strain among school teachers. Journal of Vocational Behaviour,
22, 136-147.
Riccio, A. (1983). On coping with the stresses of teaching. Theory Into Practice, 22(1),
43-47. Retrieved Friday, August 04, 2006 from the PsycINFO database.
Schieman, S., McBrier, D., & Van Gundy, K. (2003). Home-to-Work Conflict, Work

Teacher Stress 54
Qualities, and Emotional Distress. Sociological Forum, 18(1), 137-164. Retrieved
Friday, August 04, 2006 from the PsycINFO database.
Schwartz, J.E., Pickering, T.G., & Landsbergis, P.A. (1996). Work-related stress and
blood pressure: Current theoretical models and considerations from a behavioral
medicine perspective. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 1(3), 287-310.
Selye, H. (1936). A syndrome produced by diverse nocuous agents. In Neylan, T. C.
(Ed.)(1998), Hans Selye and the field of stress research. Journal of
Neuropsychiatry, 10(2), 230-231.
Sinclair, K. (1992). Morale, satisfaction and stress in schools. In C. Turney, N. Hatton, K.
Laws, K. Sinclair, & D. Smith (Eds.), The school manager, Sydney, Australia:
Allen and Unwin.
Smith, T., & Ingersoll, R. (2004). What Are the Effects of Induction and Mentoring
on Beginning Teacher Turnover? American Educational Research Journal, 41(3),
681-714. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ727495) Retrieved
January 23, 2009, from ERIC database.
van Dick, R., & Wagner, U. (2001). Stress and strain in teaching: A structural equation
approach. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 71(2), 243-259. Retrieved
Friday, August 04, 2006 from the PsycINFO database.
Yerkes, R. M., & Dodson, J. D. (1908). The relation of strength of stimulus to rapidity of
habit-formation. Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology, 18, 459482. In Classics in the History of Psychology. Retrieved January, 2006, from
http://psychclassics.yorku. ca/Yerkes/Law/

Teacher Stress 55
Appendix A
Dimensions of
Occupational Stress

1. Individual Factors

2. Work
Environment

3. Strain

4. Coping

Factors Related to Teacher


Occupational Stress

Measures

1. Educational level
2. Length of time employed
3. Difficulty using teaching
techniques

1. Demographics Form
2. Demographics Form
3. TPAS Teacher Satisfaction
Questionnaire Revised

1. Work demands vs. resources


2. Skills and ability
3. Expectations
4. Role demands and loyalties
5. Responsibility for others
6. Hazards

ORQ Questionnaire
1. Role Overload (RO)
2. Role Insufficiency (RI)
3. Role Ambiguity (RA)
4. Role Boundary (RB)
5. Responsibility (R)
6. Physical Environment (PE)

1.Work quality, attitude, confidence


2. Emotional health
3. Personal relationships
4. Physical health

PSQ Questionnaire
1. Vocational Strain (VS)
2. Psychological Strain (PSY)
3. Interpersonal Strain (IS)
4. Physical Strain (PHS)

1. Engaging in relaxing activities


2. Taking time off
3. Feeling supported
4. Cognitive coping skills re: work

PRQ Questionnaire
1. Recreation (RE)
2. Self-Care (SC)
3. Social Support (SS)
4. Rational/Cognitive Coping (RC)

Teacher Stress 56
Appendix B
Participant ID:
Date:

Participant Information

Occupation:
Teacher

Teacher Aid

Time employed at Head Start: ________Years _________Months


How long have you been working with your current teacher/teacher aid?
________Years _________Months or ____________Weeks
Age: ________
Ethnic Background:
African American
Asian/Pacific Islander
Central American
Dominican
Puerto Rican
Other: ____________________

American Indian
Caucasian
Cuban
Mexican
South American

Place of Birth: _______________________________________________________


Time lived in the United States: ________Years _________Months
Marital Status:
Married
Single

Divorced
Living Together

Separated

Do you have children?


Yes
No
If you have children how many are between the ages of:
0-2 _____
2-5 ______
5-10 _______
10-15 ______
15-18 ______
18+ _______
Educational Background (Check highest level completed):
Some High School
High School Degree
Some College
Technical School
Associates Degree
Bachelors Degree
Masters Degree
Doctorate Degree
What is your annual household income?
$0 $10,000
$21,000 $30,000
$41,000 $50,000

$11,000 $20,000
$31,000 $40,000
$51,000 +

Teacher Stress 57
Appendix C

Teacher Satisfaction Questionnaire Revised


The following questionnaire is part of our evaluation of the training programs being
provided to you. It is important that you answer as honestly as possible. The information
obtained will help us to evaluate and continually improve the programs we offer. Your
cooperation is greatly appreciated. All responses will be strictly confidential.
C. Specific Teaching Techniques
Difficulty
In this section wed like to get your idea of how difficult it usually is to do each of the
following techniques now. Please circle the response that most closely describes how
difficult the technique is to do in your classroom.
1. Comment on good behavior
Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

2. Describe or comment on bad behavior


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

3. Reward good behavior with incentives


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

4. Praise for good behavior


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

5. Use Time Out for destructive behavior


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Teacher Stress 58
6. Single out a child or a group of children for misbehavior
Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

7. Use physical restraint


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

8. Use commands in loud voice


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

9. In-house suspension (sent to principals office for misbehavior)


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

10. Warn or threaten to send child out of classroom if s/he doesnt behave
Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

11. Send child home for misbehavior


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

12. Call parents to report bad behavior


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

13. Ignore misbehavior which is non-disruptive to class


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

14. Use verbal redirection for child who is disengaged


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Teacher Stress 59
15. Use problem-solving strategy
Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

16. Use anger management strategy


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

17. Prepare children for transitions


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

18. Use group incentives


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

19. Use special privileges (e.g., special helper, extra computer time, etc.)
Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

20. Set up individual incentive (e.g., stickers, prizes) program


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

21. Give clear positive directions


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

22. Warn of consequences for misbehavior (e.g., loss of privilege)


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Teacher Stress 60
23. Use a standard discipline hierarchy
Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

24. Label childrens feelings


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

25. Use nonverbal signals to redirect child who is disengaged


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

26. Use green light-yellow light-red light as warning system


Very
Difficult

Somewhat
Difficult

Neutral

Somewhat
Easy

Very
Easy

Teacher Stress 61
Appendix D

Teacher Stress 62

Teacher Stress 63

Teacher Stress 64

Teacher Stress 65

Teacher Stress 66

Teacher Stress 67
Appendix E
Domain/Scale

Description

Occupational Roles Questionnaire ( ORQ)


Role Overload (RO)

Measures the extent to which job demands exceed resources


(personal and workplace) and the extent to which the individual is
able to accomplish workloads.

Role Insufficiency (RI)

Measures the extent to which the individuals training, education,


skills, and experience are appropriate to job requirements.

Role Ambiguity (RA)

Measures the extent to which priorities, expectations, and


evaluation criteria are clear to the individual.

Role Boundary (RB)

Measures the extent to which the individual is experiencing


conflicting role demands and loyalties in the work setting.

Responsibility (R)

Measures the extent to which the individual has, or feels, a great


deal of responsibility for the performance and welfare of others on
the job.

Physical Environment (PE)

Measures the extent to which the individual is exposed to high


levels of environmental toxins or extreme physical conditions.

Personal Strain Questionnaire (PSQ)


Vocational Strain (VS)

Measures the extent to which the individual is having problems in


work quality or output. Attitudes toward work are also measured.

Psychological Strain (PSY)

Measures the extent of psychological and/or emotional problems


being experienced by the individual.

Interpersonal Strain (IS)

Measures the extent of disruption (e.g., withdrawal or


aggressiveness) in interpersonal relationships.

Physical Strain (PHS)

Measures complaints about physical illness and/or poor self-care


habits.

Personal Resources Questionnaire (PRQ)


Recreation (RE)

Measures the extent to which the individual makes use of and


derives pleasure and relaxation from regular recreational activities.

Self-Care (SC)

Measures the extent to which the individual regularly engages in


personal activities which reduce or alleviate chronic stress.

Social Support (SS)

Measures the extent to which the individual feels support and help
from those around him/her.

Rational/Cognitive Coping (RC)

Measures the extent to which the individual possesses and uses


cognitive skills in the face of work-related stresses.

(Osipow, 1998, pp. 2)

Teacher Stress 68
Appendix F
Informed Consent Form
Wheaton College
Project: Teaching Classroom Behavioral Management Skills to Educators
Researcher: Dr. Carlos Pozzi, Andrea Pauley and Suzanna Zavaleta
Wheaton College Psychology Department
501 E. College Ave.
Wheaton, IL 60187
630-752-5759
carlos.f.pozzi@wheaton.edu, andi.pauley@wheaton.edu and
suzanna.hernandez@wheaton.edu
The purpose of this research study is to explore effective classroom behavioral
management techniques. In this study we will assess the current techniques of behavioral
management used by the educators in the classroom. Levels of stress among the
educators will also be evaluated. Through the use of questionnaires the educators and
the research staff will develop specific interventions to improve classroom behavioral
management skills and decrease levels of stress. This study is focused on promoting
classroom management skills among the teachers and will not reflect on any childs
individual performance.
The final result of the research is expected to be part of dissertation work and part of a
published article from the Wheaton College psychology department. Findings will also
be presented to the teachers involved in this study. A pseudonym/pretend name will be
used in any notes and in all published material arising out of the observations. All
materials will be placed in archives at Wheaton College for possible future use by the
current or future researchers.
Please understand that you are free to withdraw from active participation in this research
at any time and to require that all records of your participation be destroyed so as to
prevent their use. The request for destruction of records should be made within two
months of the completion of the workshop.
Any questions regarding the nature or procedures used in the study may be addressed to:
Dr. Carlos Pozzi, Andrea Pauley or Suzanna Zavaleta, Wheaton College, 501 East
College Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187. Phone: 630-752-5759
Any complaint regarding the nature or conduct of this research may be addressed to:
Chair of the Human Subjects Review Committee, Wheaton College, 501 East
College Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187.

Teacher Stress 69
I,...............................................................(please print) have read (or have had read
to me, if that is appropriate) and understood all of the information above, and any
questions that I have asked have been answered to my satisfaction. I agree to take part in
this research on the understanding that my name will not be used in any published
material, and the information which I supply will be stored and may be used in future
research.
I reserve the right to refuse participation or withdraw from active participation in
this project at any time and to require that all traces of my participation be removed from
the project record provided that I exercise this right within two months of the completion
of my active participation. I understand that my refusal or withdrawal from this study
will not affect my employment status and/or my childs placement at the Head Start
Center.
Signature of participant ................................................................................ Date ...........
Signature of researcher ................................................................................. Date ...............
Signature of researcher ................................................................................. Date ...............