University of the Free State (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 7925-7931
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The primary aim of this research was to determine the current levels of occupational stress amongst South African teachers. Teachers’ experiences of professional stress were measured with an occupational stress instrument (OSI-R). The OSI-R measures the impact of an individual’s stress in three domains of occupational adjustment namely occupational roles; psychological strain, and coping/personal resources. The researchers sampled 188 teachers from 22 departmental/state schools in the Free State Province of South Africa. Results from the present study demonstrated that the majority of participants experienced moderate to high levels of stress in the ‘occupational role’ domain. With regard to ‘psychological stress’ results point to a fairly even distribution of participants in the ‘moderate’ and ‘high’ stress level categories. The third domain, namely ‘coping resources’ demonstrated that personal resources such as ‘recreation’ and ‘self-care’ achieved higher t-scores on the OSI-R, compared to indicators of ‘social support’ and ‘rationale-cognitive’ coping measures, which respectively measured average and very low t-scores. With reference to the theoretical models of Karasek and Theorell (1990), and Osipow and Spokane (1984), the researchers hypothesized that personal coping resources amongst participants in the present study, played a significant role as ‘mediator’ between high workload, low job/work control and work-related stress; therefore some teacher participants are able to cope due to higher coping skills and personal resources, whilst very high level of occupational stress were present amongst teachers with limited personal resources. In conclusion results from the present study firstly demonstrated the enormous work strain and occupational stress of South African teachers. Secondly, it highlighted the importance of coping skills and how they can ‘buffer’ the detrimental effects of occupational stress amongst teachers in South Africa.
Primary school teachers, occupational stress, OSI-R, South Africa.