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Self-reported work and family stress of female primary teachers.

Stress arising in the domain of work and family can have a cumulative effect, and can spill over across the domains. The work-family interface has received little attention in teacher stress research, therefore the present study aimed to investigate work and family stress among teachers. Self-report questionnaires were distributed to 102 female, primary teachers from government schools in the Geelong area. Responses were used to: (a) identify the major work and family stressors; (b) identify the contributions of perceived work and family stress to perceived global stress; and (c) explore the impact that work and family stress have on each other. Overall the teachers reported moderate levels of global, work and family stress. Time and workload pressure was the major work stressor, and responsibility for child rearing the major family stressor. Work stress and home stress both impacted on each other. The implications of the findings were discussed.

Introduction

Work and family are central realms of adult life. If it is accepted that stress may arise in both the work and family domains, then it is logical to expect that stressors may have a cumulative effect and that stress in the work environment may impact on stress in the home environment, and vice versa. Historically research has focused on either work stress or family stress separately (Zedeck & Mosier, 1990), however more recently they have been studied simultaneously due to the emerging consensus that work and family are linked in complex ways (Westman & Piotrkowski, 1999). The present study will investigate issues of work and family stress for a sample of female primary school teachers in government schools in an Australian provincial city. Women were chosen as: (a) 78 per cent of full-time teachers in Australian government primary schools are female (Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS], 1999); and (b) because of the unequal division of labour at home, women who are employed full-time have a greater total workload than their male counterparts (Lundberg & Frankenhaeuser, 1999).

Teacher stress

Teacher stress is a widespread, cross-cultural phenomenon (Kyriacou, 1987). At the economic level, teacher stress may result in costs due to stress-related employee absenteeism, employee turnover, reduced employee output and employee health problems. At the personal level, it may result in burnout, which is characterised by emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and reduced personal accomplishment (Maslach & Jackson, 1986). Teacher stress may also result in educational problems, such as reduced teacher competence (Kyriacou, 1987; O'Connor & Clarke, 1990). Hence the problem of teacher stress has social, personal and economic implications.

There is considerable empirical support that teachers perceive their jobs to be stressful. In a typical study where teachers completed a self-report questionnaire concerning perceived stressfulness of teaching, 33.6 per cent of teachers rated their job as either 'very' or 'extremely' stressful (Borg & Riding, 1991). Other studies have reported similar findings, indicating that approximately one-quarter to one-third of teachers experience a high level of occupational stress (e.g. Borg & Falzon, 1989; Borg, Riding, & Falzon, 1991; Chaplain, 1995; Kyriacou & Sutcliffe, 1979a, 1979b; Laughlin, 1984; Manthei & Gilmore, 1996; O'Connor & Clarke, 1990).

Many studies have sought to identify the determinants of teacher stress. Findings have been consistent across countries (e.g. America, Australia, England, New Zealand). Commonly found stressors include time and workload pressures (Borg & Riding, 1991; Laughlin, 1984), student behaviour and student problems (Borg et al., 1991; Chaplain, 1995), problems with school administration and staff (Borg & Riding, 1991; Smith & Bourke, 1992), lack of professional recognition (Manthei & Gilmore, 1996; Smith & Bourke, 1992) and, to a lesser extent, pressure from parents (Borg et al., 1991) and negative community attitudes towards teachers (Manthei & Gilmore, 1996). Student behaviour problems have generally been identified as the greatest source of stress for both primary and secondary teachers (Borg et al., 1991; Chaplain, 1995; Laughlin, 1984; Raschke, Dedrick, Strathe, & Hawkes, 1985). These findings suggest that it is the insidious day-to-day sources of stress that are of most concern to teachers.

Research exploring the influence of demographic variables, such as gender, age, teaching experience and type of school, on teacher stress has produced contradictory findings. Some studies have indicated that the level of teacher stress bears little relationship to demographic variables (e.g. Kyriacou & Sutcliffe, 1978; Manthei & Gilmore, 1996). Other studies have identified demographic variables as mediators of stress perceptions (e.g. Chaplain, 1995; Laughlin, 1984; Smith & Bourke, 1992). It is difficult to compare findings and to draw conclusions as studies have been conducted across a broad range of contexts, using different samples and different self-report measures.

The greatest limitations of teacher stress research are: (a) the overwhelmingly quantitative nature of the research which inhibits the depth and amount of information obtained; and (b) the exclusive focus on the work environment, ignoring stress arising from non-work facets of life. This study dealt with these limitations by incorporating quantitative and qualitative components, and by assessing work and family stress.

Work-family stress

Work-family researchers have distinguished between work-family conflict (work interfering with family) and family-work conflict (family interfering with work). Different types of spillover have been identified across the work and family domains: (a) negative spillover from work to family; (b) positive spillover from work to family; (c) negative spillover from family to work; and (d) positive spillover from family to work (Grzywacz & Marks, 2000; Williams & Alliger, 1994). Studies investigating the extent to which work and family stressors influence this spillover have found significant, positive relationships between work stressors and work-family conflict, and between family stressors and family-work conflict (Fox & Dwyer, 1999; Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985). Examples of these stressors include work overload, time pressures, lack of emotional support, partner tension, and responsibility for child rearing. Generally self-report studies have shown that work interfered with family life more frequently than family life interfered with work (e.g. Frone, Russell, & Cooper, 1992; Hall & Richter, 1988; Wiley, 1987).

Aims

The three aims of the present study were to: (a) identify the major work and family stressors; (b) identify the relative contributions of work and family stress to global stress; and (c) explore the impact of work and family stress on each other.

Method

Procedure and recruitment Ethics approval was obtained from the Deakin University Ethics Committee and the Department of Education. School principals were contacted and approval obtained to approach the staff in their schools at a convenient time (e.g. recess, lunchtime, staff meeting). Participants were recruited from 15 government primary schools in Geelong. The nature of the data may be influenced by the geographical location in which they were collected, as Geelong has some specific features. The city of Geelong is 80 kilometres south-west of Melbourne. It is the second largest city in Victoria, with a population of 190 000 spread over 1250 square kilometres. Located on the edge of Corio Bay, the city supports the local rural community and has both local and international industries supported by a workforce of 80 000 of which 45 per cent are in skilled occupations. There are over 100 educational institutions in the area; 47 of these are government primary schools (www.geelongaustralia.com.au).

The sample was drawn from 15 schools in areas best described as representing middle socioeconomic levels. Of the 18 principals approached, 15 principals gave permission for the researchers to speak to staff at the school. At each of these 15 schools, one of the researchers attended a staff meeting where she explained the purpose of the study and distributed questionnaires that were later returned to Deakin University in reply-paid envelopes. Questionnaires took approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Sample

Of the 177 questionnaires distributed, 102 were returned, yielding a response rate of 57.6 per cent. The sample consisted of 102 female, full-time government primary school teachers, aged 23-57 years (M = 43, SD = 8.37).

Questionnaire

The questionnaire assessed demographic characteristics, perceived global stress, perceived work and family stress, sources of work and family stress, and stress spillover between work and family.

Demographics The demographic characteristics were age, number of years of full-time teaching experience, number of dependent children, and presence/absence of a partner. Participants estimated the number of hours they spent per week completing household chores, and the percentage of household chores per week that they completed.

Perceived work and family stress The 10-item form of the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) (1) (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983) was used to measure perceived work stress and perceived family stress. The PSS measures the degree to which situations in one's life are perceived as stressful. Participants were asked to indicate how often they had felt or thought a certain way during the last month. Items were answered using a 5-point scale ranging from 0 (never) to (4) (very often). Scores for perceived work stress and for perceived family stress had a possible range of 0 to 40, with higher scores indicating greater perceived stress.

Sources of work and family stress Two questions asked participants to rate sources of work and family stress on a scale of 0 (not stressful) to 7 (extremely stressful). The sources of stress were derived from previous studies (e.g. Borg & Riding, 1991; Chaplain, 1995; Fox & Dwyer, 1999; Laughlin, 1984; Lundberg & Frankenhaeuser, 1999).

To explore specific stressors in the work and family contexts, two open-ended questions asked participants to indicate the greatest source of work stress and the greatest source of family stress that they had experienced during the last month. Participants were asked which of these stressors was the greater. A final open-ended question asked participants whether there were any other sources of stress they had experienced during the last month.

Perceived global stress A single question asked participants to rate their perceived current stress level on a scale of 0 (no stress) to 100 (high stress).

Stress spillover Two questions asked participants to indicate the extent to which work stress impacted on home and the extent to which home stress impacted on work. These were answered using a 0 (not at all) to 7 (very much) scale.

Data analysis Data were analysed using SPSS version 8. Alpha levels were set at .05. Inflation of error was not considered to be a problem as the research was exploratory.

Results

Overview of the data

Of the 102 teachers who participated, 84 per cent were partnered. Years of teaching experience ranged from 1 to 35, with a mean of 17.18 (SD = 8.26). Number of dependent children ranged from 0 to 4, with a mean of 1.40 (SD = 1.16). The mean percentage of household chores completed was 67.77 per cent (SD = 20.18). Obtained ratings for perceived global stress ranged from 10 to 99, with a mean of 63.69 (SD = 21.06). For perceived work stress, obtained scores ranged from 5 to 36, with a mean of 18.10 (SD = 6.03). This was slightly higher than the mean for perceived family stress (M = 15.07, SD = 8.38), which ranged from 0 to 34. Obtained ratings for work stress impacting on home stress ranged from 2 to 7, with a mean of 5.10 (SD = 1.49). This was greater than the mean rating for home stress impacting on work stress (M = 3.36, SD = 1.62) which ranged from 1 to 7. Table 1 presents the mean ratings and the standard deviations for the sources of work and family stress. With respect to the sources of family stress, 'not applicable' was selected by 35.3 per cent for responsibility for child rearing, 25.5 per cent for extended family problems, and 14.7 per cent for partner tension. In these cases, 'not applicable' was scored as 0 as it indicates that there was no stress arising from the source as that source did not exist for the particular respondent.

Demographic variables and stress

To assess the relationship between each of the demographic variables and each of the scores on the stress measures, Pearson r correlation coefficients were computed. The measures of age in years, number of years teaching experience, percentage of household chores completed and whether or not the teacher had a partner were unrelated to the measures of perceived family stress, perceived work stress or perceived global stress (all correlation coefficients were <.14 and not significant). There was a small positive correlation between the reported number of dependent children and the score on perceived family stress (r = .254, p < .01), but number of dependent children was not significantly correlated with perceived global stress (r = -.04, n.s.) or perceived work stress (r = -.02, n.s.).

Data screening

There were no missing values. The assumptions for t-tests were met. Assessment of assumptions for multiple regression analyses indicated that one variable was skewed: global stress (skewness/SE of skew = -3.7). Examination of residual scatterplots for prediction of perceived family stress revealed no violation of normality, linearity or homoscedasticity. Mahalanobis distance, with p < .001 revealed that there were no multivariate outliers. Multicollinearity was not a concern for any of the analyses.

Sources of perceived work and family stress

To identify the major sources of work stress, a standard multiple regression was performed with perceived work stress as the dependent variable, and the independent variables of time and workload pressures, student behaviour and student problems, problems with school administration and staff, parental expectations and demands, lack of professional recognition, and negative community attitudes towards teachers (see Table 2). The R value for regression was .63, and was significant, F (6,95) = 10.48, p < .001. The [R.sup.2] value was .39, indicating that the set of work stressors together explained 39 per cent of the variability in work stress scores. The partial regression coefficients (B) for time and workload pressures, lack of professional recognition, and parental expectations and demands were significant, t (95) = 3.83, p = .000, t (95) = 2.24, p = .028, t (95) = 2.12, p = .036, respectively.

Holding all other independent variables constant, each one-unit increase in perceived work stress resulted in a predicted increase of 1.40 in time and workload pressures, .74 in lack of professional recognition, and .66 in parental expectations and demands. Time and workload pressures uniquely predicted 9 per cent, lack of professional recognition 3 per cent, and parental expectations and demands 3 per cent of the variance in work stress.

To identify the variables associated with perceived family stress, a standard multiple regression was performed with family stress as the dependent variable and the independent variables of household chores, partner tension, responsibility for child rearing, lack of emotional support, financial pressures, my own health, and extended family problems. The R value for regression was .66, F (7,39) = 4.34, p < .01. The set of family stressors together explained 43 per cent of the variability in family stress scores. The partial regression coefficient (B) for household chores was significant, t (39) = 2.19, p = .034, uniquely contributing 6 per cent of the variance.

Exploration of sources of stress

Responses to the questions dealing with the greatest sources of work and family stress over the last month were coded into themes by both one of the researchers and by an independent individual. Table 3 displays the themes given by more than 5 per cent of respondents.

In response to the question regarding which source of stress was greater, 55 per cent of participants reported work stress, 35 per cent family stress, and 10 per cent that they were equal. The main reason for work being the greatest stress was lack of time to complete tasks, for example, 'I am always rushing to get everything done and feel I do nothing properly', and 'I have so many extra duties to do in addition to classroom teaching'.

The main reason for family being the greater stress was lack of time to spend with family, for example, 'Time spent at work leaves limited time for home', and 'I have to fit family in among work commitments'. Other reasons included the lack of support from partner and general concern for family members. Sources of stress reported other than work or family included sporting injuries, car problems, pet problems and friendship issues.

Work stressors

The greatest single source of stress was time and workload pressures (58%). For time and workload pressures, the most commonly reported response was report writing, followed by attending meetings and professional development. Examples of responses included: 'Report writing comes on top of a large workload and at the end of an already extremely busy term', 'Having to teach all day and then write reports at home', 'Expectations that everything can be completed in normal working hours--more like 50 hours a week!', and 'Extra responsibilities other than teaching--continual before school, lunchtime and after school meetings and professional development'.

Problems with school administration and staff (19%) were the next most frequently mentioned stressor. Examples of responses coded as problems with school administration and staff included: 'Disappointment with attitude of principal towards school and staff', 'Poor communications to staff and between staff', and 'Inability of administration to recognise the differing work required at certain levels of schooling'.

Problems with student behaviour (14%) were also of concern. Responses fitting the theme of problems with student behaviour included such comments as: 'Child who is difficult to motivate, won't complete work and is a bully', 'Particularly disruptive student', and 'New difficult student to be integrated into class routines'.

Family stressors

The greatest single stressor was problems with teenage children (48%). Examples of responses included 'Teenage daughter frequently staying away overnight with friends--lack of control on my part', 'Arguing constantly with teenage son', 'Lack of help at home from teenage children', 'Teenage children fighting', and 'Teenager daughters who want full adult rights but not the responsibilities'.

Extended family problems (20%) were also of concern, with the most common response being the death of a family member, or caring for an ill family member. For example, 'Ill father--I am the main carer and am responsible for his medication, shopping, etc.', and 'Death of husband's father--looking after his wife who is elderly and frail'.

Problems with partner (11%) were also mentioned, with responses falling into two categories--problems with partner's health and lack of support from partner. For example, 'Threat to spouse's life', 'Husband's chronic health problems', 'Lack of mutual interests with partner', and 'Husband doesn't understand the stresses placed on teachers and has difficulty understanding the amount of time I spend at work with meetings, etc.'.

Relative impact of work and family stress

Impact of work stress on home (M= 5.10, SD= 1.49) was significantly greater than impact of home stress on work (M= 3.36, SD=1.62), t (101) = 8.30, p < .001.

Prediction of perceived global stress

To assess the relative contributions of perceived work and perceived family stress to global perceived stress, hierarchical regression analyses were computed entering work stress and then family stress, and secondly entering family stress before work stress (see Table 4). Following the entry of perceived work stress into the first analysis, the significant R value was .56, F (1,100) = 45.54, p < .001. Work stress alone explained 31 per cent of the variance in global stress. The addition of family stress contributed an additional 5 per cent of the variance, R? change = .05, F (1,99) = 7.859, p < .01, with [R.sup.2] = .35, F (2,99) = 28.261, p < .001. Together work and family stress explained 36 per cent of the variability in global stress scores.

After entering family stress into the second analysis, the R value was .15, F (1, 100) = 17.91, p < .001, explaining 15 per cent of the variance in global stress. The addition of work stress contributed significantly, [R.sup.2] change = .21, F (1,99) = 32.899, p < .001, with [R.sup.2] = .35, F (2,99) = 28.261, p < .001, contributing an additional 21 per cent of variance, with family stress ([sr.sup.2] = .05) still being a significant predictor, t (99) = 2.80, p = .006. Therefore the unique contribution of work stress to global stress was 21 per cent, the unique contribution of family stress to global stress was 5 per cent, and these stressors combined contributed a further 10 per cent.

Discussion

Major work stressors

The first aim was to identify the major work and family stressors for female primary teachers. The mean ratings for the sources of work stress indicated that time and workload pressure was appraised as being the greatest stressor, followed by parental expectations and demands, student behaviour and student problems, negative community attitudes towards teaching, problems with school administration and staff, and lack of professional recognition. Besides time and workload pressures, the means for these sources of stress were all moderate to low. Considering that the mean age of the sample was 43 years, and the mean years of teaching experience 17, it is likely that these teachers have learnt to employ effective coping strategies to deal with these potential stressors.

The finding that time and workload pressure was the greatest stressor is congruent with previous research (e.g. Borg et al., 1991; Chaplain, 1995; Laughlin, 1984; O'Connor & Clarke, 1990; Raschke et al., 1985). The role of teachers has changed over the last 10 years to include wider curriculum coverage, teaching information technology, and expectations to attend professional development (PD) activities outside actual teaching time. These changes are all likely to contribute to time and workload pressures.

The finding that student behaviour and student problems were not stressful is inconsistent with previous research (e.g. Borg et al., 1991; Laughlin, 1984). This may reflect the disciplinary procedures in these schools (e.g. discipline cards to take home to parents, time out). Although Borg et al. (1991) reported that parental expectations and demands were perceived as a relatively high source of stress, it was reported here as being very low.

Most previous studies of teacher stress have used factor analytic procedures to identify the underlying stress factors (e.g. Borg & Riding, 1991; Borg et al., 1991; Chaplain, 1995; Laughlin, 1984; Manthei & Gilmore, 1996). The current study extends their findings by including the sources of stress in an exploratory multiple regression analysis to assess the relative importance of each potential stresssor. The set of six perceived work stressors together significantly explained 39 per cent of the variance in perceived work stress scores. Time and workload pressure was the greatest significant contributor, followed by lack of professional recognition, and parental expectations and demands, which suggests that an increase in each of these variables was associated with an increase in perceived work stress. This is consistent with research reported by O'Connor and Clarke (1990).

The qualitative findings explored specific stressors. Responses to the open-ended questions were coded into themes. Consistent with the quantitative results, time and workload pressure was appraised as being the greatest source of work stress experienced in the previous month. The majority of responses classified into this theme highlighted lack of time, and increased workload as a result of report writing. As the questionnaires were distributed during a period of report writing, this was obviously salient. However report writing occurs twice a year over a period of approximately four weeks each time, and at other times of the year other stressors may arise (e.g. attending meetings, PD activities, parent-teacher interviews, organising school concerts and sporting activities). Therefore time and workload pressures at the time when the data were collected may not be greater than normal.

Responses coded as problems with school administration and staff were a greater source of stress than those coded as parental expectations and demands or problems with student behaviour. Although this finding somewhat contradicts the mean ratings obtained for the sources of work stress, which identified parental expectations and demands as a greater perceived source of stress than both student behaviour and problems with school administration and staff, the qualitative findings provide support for the prevalence of these sources of stress.

Major family stressors

The mean ratings for the sources of family stress indicated that responsibility for child rearing was the greatest stressor for female primary teachers, followed by household chores, financial pressures, extended family problems, own health, lack of emotional support, and partner tension. Similar to the sources of work stress, these family stressors were all rated fairly moderate to low. Due to their age and years of teaching experience, these teachers seem to have learned to juggle work and family pressures. As 84 per cent of the teachers were partnered, and as participants completed an average of 67 per cent of household chores, these participants receive some support in meeting family demands.

Due to the lack of studies of family stress among teachers, these findings cannot be compared with previous research on teacher stress, but are consistent with work-family studies involving other occupational groups (e.g. professional, managerial, clerical, blue-collar workers) that have identified responsibility for child rearing and household chores as prominent family stressors (Fox & Dwyer, 1999; Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985; Lundberg & Frankenhaeuser, 1999).

An exploratory analysis was performed to identify the major source of family stress. The set of seven family stressors together significantly explained 44 per cent of the variability in family stress scores. Household chores was the only significant contributor, suggesting that an increase in perceived stress due to household chores was associated with an increase in family stress. Participants completed, on average, 68 per cent of household chores, which is consistent with the ABS (2000) finding that women in general do two-thirds of all unpaid housework.

The analyses assessing perceived family stress explained 44 per cent of the variance. The qualitative items explored specific sources of stress in the family environment. Problems with teenage children emerged as the main theme, which reflects the quantitative finding that the major family stressor was responsibility for child rearing. The demographic variable, number of dependent children, correlated positively and significantly with perceived family stress, which lends support to the finding that responsibility for child rearing is the main family concern for female teachers.

Qualitative responses were also classified into extended family problems, problems with partner, financial problems, and housework. These themes provide support for the sources of stress as rated by the teachers. The remaining 11 per cent of responses were coded as other, and included such things as marriage preparation, trying to sell the house, and problems with the family business.

Correlates of perceived global stress

The obtained mean ratings for perceived global stress (M= 63.69, maximum rating of 100), perceived work stress (M= 18.10, maximum score of 40) and perceived family stress (M= 15.07, maximum score of 40) revealed that, as a group, the teachers were only moderately stressed by work and family.

The exploratory analyses found that work stress and family stress together significantly explained 36 per cent of the variability in global stress scores. Work stress was the prime correlate of global stress, consistent with the finding that work stress was greater than family stress.

The qualitative results provide support for the quantitative finding that perceived work stress was appraised as a greater source of stress than perceived family stress. In response to the question regarding which source of stress was greater, 55 per cent reported work stress, 35 per cent family stress, and 10 per cent that they were equal. Furthermore, when family was reported to be the greatest stress, many participants cited work reasons for this (e.g. out-of-school time spent on school-related tasks).

As work and family are the central realms of adult life, one might wonder why together they did not explain more of the variability in global stress scores. There may be other sources of stress, such as study or health-related issues. The relationship between the global measure and the more specific stress scores might have been weakened by the slight differences in the nature of the measures in that the measures of perceived work stress and perceived family stress focused on the last month, whereas the global stress measure was less specific, asking about global stress 'lately'. However, as the global measure followed the more specific measures, it is likely that respondents maintained a relatively consistent timeframe.

Stress spillover

The third aim was to explore the impact that work and family stress have on each other. The mean rating for work stress impacting on home was significantly greater than the mean rating for home stress impacting on work, suggesting that time spent at work and on work-related tasks may impact on the quality and quantity of family time. This is certainly supported by responses given to the open-ended questions, which included: 'I get guilt feelings for not being around enough for my family', and 'I feel "stretched" between work and family but cannot do either properly'. This is consistent with previous research, where work interfering with family life has been reported more frequently than family life interfering with work (Frone et al., 1992; Hall & Richter, 1988; Wiley, 1987).

Evaluation of the present study

Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to assess work and family stress among teachers. Responses to the open-ended questions provided support for the quantitative findings. Moreover, they elicited data that otherwise might have been missed. For example, it was found that time spent report writing was the main reason for time and workload pressures, and that the main source of family stress was teenage children.

The most obvious limitation for stress research is that it is likely that the individuals who are the most 'stressed out', do not complete and return the questionnaire. Therefore, the levels of stress found may not be an accurate reflection of those in the intended population. However, it is likely that this response bias would occur for all samples examined and therefore meaningful comparisons can still be made. Further, as these data were collected in schools in a predominantly middle socioeconomic area, they might not reflect stressors more common to lower or higher socioeconomic areas.

A further limitation of the present study was the use of self-report measures, which are subject to problems of memory and language ambiguity, and may introduce measurement biases (e.g. teachers may not want to report their work as being stressful for fear of being perceived as incompetent). Considering that most research examining teacher stress has used self-report measures, this study is not disadvantaged in its use of the same methodology.

Conclusions and implications

For the sample of 102 Australian female primary teachers working in the Geelong area: (a) time and workload pressures caused the greatest work stress, and responsibility for child rearing the greatest family stress; (b) work stress was a greater contributor to global stress than was family stress; and (c) work stress impacted on home more than home stress impacted on work. The large amount of unexplained variance suggests that other unidentified variables may be important correlates of perceived work, family, and global stress.

Female primary teachers in schools located in predominantly middle socioeconomic areas in Geelong find it difficult to limit their work to working hours. They are spending extra hours at school and are taking work home. These extra hours are impacting on the time available to spend with their families or for attending to their personal needs. Professional development activities might usefully focus on time management and on the development of strategies for working more efficiently. School timetables might need to be modified to provide time during working hours to attend to administrative and reporting tasks.

Keywords

family work relationship primary education stress management teaching work environment working hours
Table 1 Means and standard deviations for work and family stressors

Stressors (possible range 0-7) M SD

Work stressors
 Time and workload pressures 5.43 1.41
 Parental expectations and demands 3.69 1.81
 Student behaviour and student problems 3.58 2.07
 Negative community attitudes towards teachers 3.34 2.02
 Problems with school administration and staff 3.16 2.00
Family stressors
 Responsibility for child rearing 4.05 2.12
 Household chores 3.95 1.86
 Financial pressures 3.46 2.16
 Extended family problems 3.43 2.48
 My own health 3.03 1.97
 Lack of emotional support 2.90 2.24
 Partner tension 2.84 2.13

Table 2 Correlates of perceived work and family stress

Variables B [beta] s[r.sup.2]

Perceived work stress (N = 102)
 Independent variables
 Time and workload pressures 1.40 .33 ** .09
 Lack of professional recognition .74 .23 * .03
 Parental expectations and demands .66 .19 * .03
 School administration problems .49 .16 .02
 Negative community attitudes -.32 -.11 .01
 Student behaviour problems .29 .10 .01
Perceived family stress (N = 43)
 Independent variables
 Household chores 1.51 .33 * .06
 Partner tensions 1.28 .32 .04
 Extended family problems .72 .21 .02
 Own health concerns .74 .18 .01
 Lack of emotional support -.18 -.05 .00
 Financial pressures .09 .03 .00
 Responsibility for child -.06 -.02 .00

 Adjusted
Variables R [R.sup.2] [R.sup.2]

Perceived work stress (N = 102) .63 .39 ** .36
 Independent variables
 Time and workload pressures
 Lack of professional recognition
 Parental expectations and demands
 School administration problems
 Negative community attitudes
 Student behaviour problems
Perceived family stress (N = 43) .66 .44 ** .34
 Independent variables
 Household chores
 Partner tensions
 Extended family problems
 Own health concerns
 Lack of emotional support
 Financial pressures
 Responsibility for child

* p<.01 ** p<.001

Table 3 Percentage responses for each of the work and family themes

 Proportion of
Themes responses (%)

Work
 Time and workload pressures 58
 Problems with school administration and staff 19
 Student behaviour and student problems 14
 Parental expectations and demands 9
 Total 100
Family themes
 Problems with teenage children 48
 Extended family problems 20
 Problems with partner 11
 Financial problems 5
 Housework 5
 Other 11
 Total 100

Table 4 Correlates of perceived global stress

Variables B [beta] s[r.sup.2] R
Regression 1 (N = 102)
 Step 1
 Perceived work stress .16 .56 ** .31 .56
 Step 2
 Addition of PFS .60
 Perceived work stress .14 .48 ** .21
 Perceived family stress .04 .24 * .05
Regression 2 (N = 102)
 Step 1
 Perceived family stress .08 .39 ** .15 .39
 Step 2
 Addition of PWS .60
 Perceived family stress .04 .24 * .05
 Perceived work stress .14 .48 ** .21

 Adjusted [R.sup.2]
Variables [R.sup.2] [R.sup.2] change
Regression 1 (N = 102)
 Step 1
 Perceived work stress .31 .30 .31 **
 Step 2
 Addition of PFS .36 .35 .05 **
 Perceived work stress
 Perceived family stress
Regression 2 (N = 102)
 Step 1
 Perceived family stress .15 .14 .15 **
 Step 2
 Addition of PWS .36 .35 .21 **
 Perceived family stress
 Perceived work stress

* p < .01 ** p < .001


Note

The PSS has been demonstrated to have adequate reliability and validity. Since perceived stress is affected by daily hassles and by the availability of coping resources, test-retest raliability of the PSS should only be high over short time intervals. Cohen et al. (1983) report a correlation of .85 over two days. The PSS has concurrent and predictive validity; however the obtained correlations range greatly (. 17 to .49 for concurrent validity; . 12 to .76 for predictive validity). The Cronbach alphas obtained for the present sample were .86 for the perceived family stress scale.

References

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Authors

Narelle Thomas, Associate Professor Valerie Clarke and Dr Judy Lavery all work at the School of Psychology at Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria 3217. E-mail: narellethomas@hotmail.com vac@deakin.edu.au judyl@deakin.edu.au
Narelle Thomas
Valerie Clarke
Judy Lavery
Deakin University
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Author:Lavery, Judy
Publication:Australian Journal of Education
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Apr 1, 2003
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