.

  • Written by Peta Stapleton, Associate Professor in Psychology, Bond University
Nearly one-fifth of the teachers we surveyed had symptoms of depression. Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

Why are teachers so stressed?

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

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

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

Teachers’ main sources of stress. Author provided

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Peta Stapleton does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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

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

2019 Makeup Trends

The year 2019 has brought us a lot of amazing new makeup trends that have made the process of applying makeup much more fun. Still, if we were to follow every single makeup trend out there, we would soon go bankrupt or end up with a look that doe...

Diana Smith - avatar Diana Smith

Spiritual and physical food

In many cultures there are some spiritual rules concerning foods that people are allowed to consume. And just in general, our own bodies can hint using various methods on what we should eat right now ...

News Company - avatar News Company

What to put on the road

When preparing for a road trip at the top of your list should be working out the itinerary. Gather your family together and decide on where you will go, what you will do, and what you will see. It is ...

News Company - avatar News Company

Australia's still building 4 in every 5 new houses to no more than the minimum energy standard

New housing in Australia must meet minimum energy performance requirements. We wondered how many buildings exceeded the minimum standard. What our analysis found is that four in five new houses are be...

Trivess Moore, Lecturer, RMIT University - avatar Trivess Moore, Lecturer, RMIT University

Would you eat meat grown from cells in a laboratory? Here's how it works

There is rationale for thinking about alternatives to meat. ShutterstockFor many of us, eating a meal containing meat is a normal part of daily life. But if we dig deeper, some sobering issues emerge...

Leigh Ackland, Professor in Molecular Biosciences, Deakin University - avatar Leigh Ackland, Professor in Molecular Biosciences, Deakin University

Centre-left politics: dead, in crisis, or in transition?

New Labor leader Anthony Albanese will need to negotiate the centre-left 'crisis' if he hopes to win office. AAP/Bianca de MarchiThe ALP’s defeat at the 2019 federal election was a surprise. Sho...

Rob Manwaring, Senior Lecturer, Politics and Public Policy, Flinders University - avatar Rob Manwaring, Senior Lecturer, Politics and Public Policy, Flinders University

Morrison wants to unleash economy's 'animal spirits' and foreshadows new look at industrial relations

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will lay out economic policies "to get Australians off the economic sidelines and on the field again" on Monday. Dean Lewins/AAPScott Morrison will commit to getting con...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

People who spread deepfakes think their lies reveal a deeper truth

Deepfakes make it harder for us to communicate truths to one another and reach consensus on what is real. ScreenshotThe recent viral “deepfake” video of Mark Zuckerberg declaring, “w...

Mark Andrejevic, Professor, School of Media, Film, and Journalism, Monash University - avatar Mark Andrejevic, Professor, School of Media, Film, and Journalism, Monash University

In Never Look Away we finally have a painter biopic offering insight into the creative process

Tom Schilling as Kurt Barnert – a slightly blurred facsimile of the famous German artist Gerhard Richter – in Never Look Away. Pergamon Film, Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion, Beta Cine...

Ted Snell, Professor, Chief Cultural Officer, Cultural Precinct, University of Western Australia - avatar Ted Snell, Professor, Chief Cultural Officer, Cultural Precinct, University of Western Australia

Dan Tehan wants a 'model code' on free speech at universities – what is it and do unis need it?

An independent review found there was no freedom of speech crisis at universities, but it recommended a model code of conduct. from shutterstock.comThe federal education minister, Dan Tehan, has calle...

Katharine Gelber, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, The University of Queensland - avatar Katharine Gelber, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, The University of Queensland

For women's sake, let's screen for depression as part of the new heart health checks

Research suggests depression is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. From shutterstock.comThe latest government statistics, released last week, show that from 2001-2016, the rate of cardiac eve...

Adrienne O'Neil, Principal Research Fellow & Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow, Deakin University - avatar Adrienne O'Neil, Principal Research Fellow & Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow, Deakin University

5 Home Decor Essentials for a Well Styled Home

Who doesn’t dream of a well-styled home? Well-styled and well-organised. If you are looking for decorating must-haves for your home, you have come to the right place. Consider this article mini-gu...

News Company - avatar News Company

Why Organic SEO Services Matter

Brands trying to build up their popularity are often curious to know how organic services can help them. Well, if you have heard of organic SEO, you’ll probably know it is a vital part of marketi...

News Company - avatar News Company

VIDEO: Michelle Grattan on the winding up of Australian Conservatives - and the government's income tax cuts

Michelle Grattan talks with University of Canberra Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor Leigh Sullivan, about the week in politics. The discussion includes Cory Bernardi anno...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Psst, Matildas: here's the best way to score at the Women's World Cup

Sam Kerr has found plenty of goal-scoring opportunities for the Matildas at this year's Women's World Cup. Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPASport science can offer some valuable insights to the teams contestin...

Mark Scanlan, Sessional Academic, Edith Cowan University - avatar Mark Scanlan, Sessional Academic, Edith Cowan University

The mighty mulga grows deep and lives long

Mark Marathon via Wikipedia, CC BY-SASign up to the Beating Around the Bush newsletter here, and suggest a plant we should cover at batb@theconversation.edu.au. Among the nearly 1,000 species of Aus...

Gregory Moore, Doctor of Botany, University of Melbourne - avatar Gregory Moore, Doctor of Botany, University of Melbourne

Need to find a good restaurant? Economics serves up some golden rules

Stay away from the tourists traps, economics tells us. Your best bet are those cozy places away from the bustle. www.shutterstock.comWhere to eat? It’s a question you’ve probably pondered ...

Lionel Page, Professor in Economics, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Lionel Page, Professor in Economics, University of Technology Sydney

Why revive a forgotten Australian classic? Oriel Gray's The Torrents remains relevant today

Celia Pacquola as Jenny Milford in The Torrents. A new production of the forgotten Australian play shows its themes are still relevant today Philip GostelowReview: The Torrents, Heath Ledger Theatre (...

Vivienne Glance, Hon Research Fellow in Poetry and Theatre studies, University of Western Australia - avatar Vivienne Glance, Hon Research Fellow in Poetry and Theatre studies, University of Western Australia

Difficult for Labor to win in 2022 using new pendulum, plus Senate and House preference flows

Unless Labor improves markedly with the lower-educated, they risk losing the seat count while winning the popular vote at the next election. AAP/Dan PeledAustralian elections have been won in outer ...

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne - avatar Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

LifeStyle

How to Revolutionize Your Beauty Experience

Being concerned with beauty and cosmetics used to mean frequent visits to the salon and sitting in...

8 Cool Yet Romantic Things to do in Australia

Australia is a wonderful place for vacationing this summer and you can beat the heat as they have ...

How to Banish Dark Circles without the Need for Cucumber Slices

Dark circles can be downright annoying, especially when you are getting enough sleep. So, what cau...

Innovation and Future Trends in the Beauty Industry

  When medicine, tech, and beauty join forces, there’s no stopping the innovative solutions th...