Links between Stress, Positive and Negative Affect, and Life Satisfaction among Teachers in Special Education Schools

Teacher's job stress is associated with negative emotions. Hamama, Ronen, Shachar, and Rosenbaum (2013) studied job stress, emotions, subject mental wellbeing, and coping resources among a sample of 125 special education teachers (46 males; 79 females) from 12 different special education schools in central Israel. The objective of the research was to study the links between job stress, positive and negative emotions, life satisfaction, and coping resources for special education teachers.

This study answered three research questions: How is work stress related to the three components of subjective wellbeing? Are the emotions (positive and negative affect) linked to the level of stress? And what are the effects of coping on work stress and subjective mental well-being?

In this study, teacher stress was assessed by the 37-item Teacher's Stress Questionnaire which measured the extent to which teachers felt burdened by too much work, student behavioral problems, parental demands, and suffering due to the workplace’s physical conditions. Teacher's emotions were assessed on both positive and negative affect by the 37-item Teacher's Stress Questionnaire. Teacher satisfaction was accessed as the subject mental wellbeing by the 5-item Life Satisfaction Scale in three components: emotional wellbeing, psychological wellbeing, and social wellbeing (Hamama et al., 2013).

The research results revealed a positive relationship between high stress and negative emotions. Effective coping resources, identified as self-control and social support, were found to promote positive emotions and life satisfaction. Also, social support was identified to be a moderator to the relationship between stress and emotions. This research contributed to the theoretical explanation about the coping resources for supporting subjective wellbeing (Hamama et al., 2013).

The limitation of this research was the narrow focus on classroom stressors only. Thus, the findings didn’t reveal if there were differences in relationships between teacher's emotions and multiple job stressors related to both job demands and job resources. This gap should addressed in the followup research.

Reference

Hamama, L., Ronen, T., Shachar, K., & Rosenbaum, M. (2013). Links between stress, positive and negative affect, and life satisfaction among teachers in special education schools. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(3), 731-751. doi:10.1007/s10902-012-9352-4

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