01 SES 05 B, Professionalism in Practice
Teaching is considered by many teachers to be a vocation. When teachers are asked why they want to teach they primarily refer to intrinsic and altruistic reasons, such as the desire to teach, to work with children, or to make a contribution to society. While it is well-established that intrinsic motivation is positively related to overall job performance, being emotionally involved also increases the likelihood of taking failures and setbacks personal. This renders teachers vulnerable for emotional problems and distress. In addition to the this general feature of the teaching profession, the so called ‘intensification’ of the teaching profession – the increase in externally imposed demands for assessment, record keeping, and accountability – further threaten the mental well-being of teachers. Indeed, one of the main consequences of the intensification process consists of a reduction in the proportion of the time and effort that can be spend to teaching itself.
Against that background more research into the determinants of the mental health of teachers is warranted. The central research questions of this paper are: how does the mental health of teachers compare to employees of other social professions (nurses, social workers, physicians, psychologists,…)? Do teachers stand out on certain aspects or do they all experience similar problems? Contrasting the teaching profession with other social professions allows us to gain insight in the particularity of the psychological burdens of the teaching profession in the 21st century.
We add to the existing literature on several ways:
- Instead of one outcome we study several outcomes related to mental health. We conceptualize different aspects of mental health by internationally validated scales such as the GHQ-12 and CIDI-SF for psychological distress, anxiety and depression. This choice takes into account the fact that certain personality characteristics make people more sensitive for certain psychological conditions. Some people will be more vulnerable to anxiety, others to depression.
- By comparing teachers to other social professions we can draw a clear profile of the teaching profession. We can identify those aspects which make the teaching profession different from other professions.
- Previous studies have shown that teachers in comparison with other contact professions (e.g., nurses, physicians, social workers) report the highest levels of stress and burnout. These studies have been conducted in the nineties and call for replication. In contrast to these studies we also take into account several outcomes of mental health.
Charafeddine, R., Demarest, S., Drieskens, S., Gisle, L., Tafforeau, J., Van der Heyden, J. (2012). Highlights of the Belgian Health Interview survey 2008. Brussel:WIV-ISP. 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. Heus, P. D., & Diekstra, R. F. W. (1999). Do Teachers Burn Out More Easily? A Comparison of Teachers with Other Social Professions on Work Stress and Burnout Symptoms. In R. Vandenberghe, & A. M. Huberman (Eds.), Understanding and Preventing Teacher Burnout (pp. 269–284). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. OECD. (2005). Teachers Matter: Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers. Education and Training Policy, OECD Publishing. Schaufeli, W. B., & Enzmann, D. (1998). The Burnout Companion to Study and Practice: A Critical Analysis. London: Taylor & Francis Group. Steinhardt, M. A., Smith Jaggars, S. E., Faulk, K. E., & Gloria, C. T. (2011). Chronic Work Stress and Depressive Symptoms: Assessing the Mediating Role of Teacher Burnout. Stress and Health, 27(5), 420–429. Struyven, K., Jacobs, K., & Dochy, F. (2012). Why do they want to teach? The multiple reasons of different groups of students for undertaking teacher education. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 1–16. Vanheule, S., & Bogaerts, S. (2005). The factorial structure of the GHQ-12. Stress and Health, 21(4), 217–222. Woods, P. (1999). Intensification and Stress in Teaching. In R. Vandenberghe & A. M. Huberman (Eds.), Understanding and preventing teacher burnout (pp. 115–138). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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