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Stress, Burnout, and Resilience: Are Teachers at Risk?

José Luis Moreno-Lucas1, Juan Pedro Martínez-Ramón1,*, Francisco Manuel Morales-Rodríguez2, Cecilia Ruiz-Esteban1, e Inmaculada Méndez1

1 Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, Campus of Excellence Mare Nostrum, University of Murcia, Espinardo, Murcia, 30100, Spain
2 Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, University Campus of Cartuja, University of Granada, Granada, 18071, Spain

* Corresponding Author: Juan Pedro Martínez-Ramón. Email: email

International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 2023, 25(2), 207-222. https://doi.org/10.32604/ijmhp.2023.025901

Abstract

It is increasingly common to find alarming news related to tragic events occurring in schools around the world. Being able to deal with these situations without getting hurt is a task not suitable for everyone. In general, teachers are the ones who must deal with this type of situation in addition to other daily problems that appear in any classroom that make the level of stress to which they are subjected can become dangerous. This research aims to know the current situation of teachers in a region of southeastern Spain in terms of their level of work stress, resilience, and other associated variables, for which an ex post facto quantitative approach study was designed. For this purpose, an ad hoc sociodemographic questionnaire, and questions based on the Teaching and Learning International Survey of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, and the Brief Resilient Coping Scale were applied. The participating sample consisted of 470 teachers. The main findings were that 6% of teachers had burnout (high emotional exhaustion, high cynicism, and low professional effectiveness simultaneously). Resilience correlated inversely with stress, emotional exhaustion, cynicism, excessive teaching, and difficulty maintaining classroom discipline. In conclusion, knowing the needs of teachers allows us to reflect on what kind of prevention and intervention programs are necessary to improve the well-being of teachers and thus improve the quality of education.

Keywords


1  Introduction

Undisciplined, uninterested pupils and uncooperative families are sources of teaching stress [1]. To these data are added other variables that may be intervening such as the type of center where teachers work [2] and the functional coping strategies that are put in place in the face of teaching stress [3,4]. In this field, there is a knowledge gap regarding the current situation, accentuated by the pandemic situation and the new problems that appear in classrooms such as the abuse of new information and communication technologies among students or the deficit of training among citizens which leads to changes in the working conditions of teachers [5,6].

In 2015, the United Nations approved its 2030 Agenda, which included 17 sustainable development goals describing the social model to be built in 195 countries; these goals include aspects related to the challenges facing the planet-water, air quality, climate change, and others related to citizenship-poverty level, gender-related problems, education, and so on [7]. Goal number four of this 2030 Agenda mentions education, pointing out the need for it to be inclusive, of quality, and to facilitate lifelong learning [8]. To this end, it is essential that teachers can reach and motivate students and that they can learn and reflect, achieving vital changes that are beneficial for all people [7,9]. In the same way, it is necessary to develop educational approaches that are sustainable over time with the available resources, focusing on optimizing [10,11].

Another essential aspect is the proactivity with which problems are solved, which is one of the individual factors that explain how some people have the virtue of being more resilient in stressful situations because they have a greater ability to recognize their emotions and be able to regulate them [10]. When teachers can acquire these skills and develop resilience, they are better prepared to relate to students, families, and other teachers [12]. The key concepts of this research are developed in more detail below: teacher stress, burnout syndrome, and resilience.

1.1 Work-Related Stress in the Classroom

The term stress is generally associated with tension, either physical or emotional [13]. Many people have suffered this tension during some stage of their lives, for different reasons such as excess of responsibility either domestic or work, not being able to differentiate between professional and personal life, lack of resources, not having recovered from a traumatic event, etc., which can generate dangerous consequences for people [14]. This concept was first coined in 1936 by Hans Selye and, according to [15], he defined it as an organic response of the body to any situation perceived as a threat. This situation can affect all dimensions of a person’s life, since it affects both personal, physical, and occupational levels, leading to danger to health [4,16]. Among the phases of a stressed person, it is possible to highlight three [17]: alarm phase, resistance or adaptation, and exhaustion. The alarm phase occurs when the person reacts to the stimulus and prepares to face the situation; then a resistance phase appears, where adaptation to stimuli that pose a threat or danger is sought, normalizing cortisol levels; finally, if the tension and stress are prolonged, the exhaustion phase appears, which generates both physical and psychological consequences of the stress suffered.

Stress is not exclusively due to internal factors, it is also necessary to consider the environment and external circumstances that require adaptation and that need coping strategies that help reduce stress levels and help to cope with these situations and even learn from them thus developing protective factors to prevent them [16,1820]. When this stress arises in the work environment it is known as occupational stress and is defined as the manifestation of psychosocial risk factors that can affect the development of the company in the medium and long term and that carry the risk of significantly damaging the health of workers [21,22]. In this sense, evaluating the factors that influence the educational process is essential to design preventive measures [23].

Among the factors that generate stress in teachers, we find overwork, poor working conditions, a salary that does not meet teachers’ expectations, as well as changes in the curriculum and the organization of tasks [2426]. To these factors must be added the difficulty with the pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) [27], which has made evident the need for teachers with expertise in digital technologies who can develop their work effectively through an online learning environment that is attractive to students [28], and which has had the disadvantage that teachers did not have sufficient training on how to teach at a distance and had to learn how to do it in a self-taught way [29]. Concerning that, 46.8% of teachers perceive an average level of stress in their daily lives, while 23% show high levels [1]. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has been difficulty in teaching work [6,3032].

1.2 Burnout Syndrome

Burnout is defined as an occupational syndrome resulting from poorly managed chronic job stress [33,34]. It is characterized by three dimensions: emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and low professional efficacy [3537]. To understand these three dimensions in greater depth, Reference [36] refered to the dimension of emotional exhaustion as weakness, lack of energy due to an excess of work, and the feeling of not being able to solve problems. The dimension of cynicism is described as the laziness at work caused by emotional fatigue produced by the passage of time, where workers go from trying to do their work as well as possible to do only the minimum, thus producing a decline in the quality of service. Finally, with low professional effectiveness, it is understood the absence or deficit of resources, support, and job opportunities that derive to think that it was a mistake to choose that profession and to have a negative image of themselves as well as of the people around them.

Garcés [38] described three types of symptoms related to burnout: (a) physical symptoms, which are usually those that appear first and may include among other diseases such as hypertension, fatigue, migraines, headaches, abdominal pain, sleep, breathing, or menstrual disturbances, weight loss or sexual dysfunction, to cite a few examples; (b) emotional symptoms, such as generalized or work-related anxiety, irritability, depression, frustration, boredom, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, poor motivation, being impatient or disoriented; and (c) behavioral symptoms, related to not attending work, abusing drugs such as coffee, tobacco, alcohol, and pharmaceuticals, risky behaviors, raising the tone of voice, crying without justification or poor relationships with colleagues. In teachers, this syndrome can produce adversities such as high levels of stress and anxiety that affect both physically and psychologically the personal well-being of the teacher and can also become endemic [39]. There is research that assures that almost half of new teachers leave the profession within five years [40]. Among the psychosomatic symptoms that usually occur, [15] highlight difficulties in falling asleep, muscular problems, headaches, and other psychosomatic problems.

Due to their work characteristics, teachers are more likely to develop stress-related illnesses than other types of professionals [41]. Therefore, the workplace and the characteristics of the teaching profession can lead to a risk to mental health and health in general if psychosocial factors that are negative for the person accumulate, which results in cataloging teaching as a risky profession. To explain how a person feels about his or her profession, it is necessary to consider the recognition that other people have of that job, the economic remuneration, and the personal satisfaction obtained after doing it, highlighting that teachers value negatively both social recognition and their salary [14,18,42,43].

Regarding the relationship between the environment of educational centers and the psychosocial risks of teachers, the risk is higher in urban areas and secondary schools compared to rural areas and primary schools [44]. On another note, more than half of the teachers state that they have not been trained in emotional intelligence and believe they do not have the ability to cope with the daily challenges that appear in their classrooms, highlighting a high level of stress in about 12.5% of the sample analyzed; as for primary education teachers, high levels of stress have been found in 16.1% of this professional group [45]. Eventually, Secondary Education and Baccalaureate are considered by different authors as the stage where teachers face greater adversities throughout their careers [4648], we found that it is the stage where teachers suffer with greater intensity depersonalization and personal fulfillment due to the relationships of conflicts and disputes they have with students in this age group, which usually leads to burnout and low personal fulfillment of the professional [49].

Among the reasons that lead to teacher dissatisfaction are generalized indiscipline among students, generalized lack of support from parents or the administration itself, sick leave due to depression and/or anxiety of other colleagues, as well as harmful routines that hinder the daily work of teachers: inadequate schedules, lack of support staff, tutoring of more conflictive students assumed by less experienced teachers. All these situations lead to negative experiences and discomfort among teachers [1,14]. This situation indirectly harms student learning and can lead to school dropout or failure due to a lack of motivation and academic recognition by teachers, which could lead to a negative teacher/student relationship [1112,15].

1.3 Resilience among Teachers

Resilience in education is understood as the ability to cope with adversities and conflictive situations that appear in our lives at all levels: work, personal, social, and family [13,50]. It is a changing quality that is modified throughout the life and experience of each person [51]. Resilience and burnout are related in the sense that the person who has a greater resilient capacity is less vulnerable to burnout [5254], which justifies that resilience helps to be a better professional [55], because teachers who can appreciate, understand, and manage their emotions will be much more effective when facing the daily difficulties of the classroom [56].

There are teachers with resilient skills who are able to work in an optimal way, thanks to positive thinking and motivation that is characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption [57]. Among the main reasons for this engagement are personal factors related to the place of residence or work, the attitude of each teacher or the resources available, as well as other organizational factors such as autonomy or the support of other professionals [58].

Teachers use several strategies to cope with stressful situations, including confrontation, trying to avoid problems, planning, distancing themselves from problems, self-control, and responsibility, seeking support from those around them, and positive re-evaluation of conflicts [5961]. However, the need for increasing resilience keeps on being a priority among teachers [14,62,63].

Regarding the current and past situation, teachers feel that they are losing the relationship with the rest of the educational community due to the problems that arise daily, especially those related to an excessive workload and a negative assessment of the students, the rest of the teaching staff, as well as the management team and/or families [3,61]. Therefore, it is necessary to foster resilience in this group, showing tools and strategies to face day-to-day problems [11,64].

In this sense, teachers who can recognize, analyze, and manage these emotions could have a more efficient coping with common stressful situations such as work conflicts between colleagues or disruptive student behavior, using creativity, perseverance, effectiveness, and personal growth [6567]. There is evidence of an inverse relationship between resilience and burnout syndrome such that teachers who have more proactive coping strategies have lower levels of stress and burnout [64,68].

1.4 Objectives and Hypotheses

As noted throughout the introduction, resilience, teacher stress and burnout are elements that are present in the school environment and need to be further researched. Having said that, the general objective of this research was to know the current situation of teachers regarding their levels of job stress, burnout, resilience, and other associated variables. The specific objectives were: (1) to study the main variables that configure the teaching work situation according to the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2018; (2) to analyze the levels in the dimensions of burnout in teachers in relation to the MBI; (3) to examine the levels of resilience in teachers with respect to the BRCS; (4) to investigate the relationship between the working conditions of teachers with burnout syndrome; (5) to investigate the relationship between working conditions and resilience; and (6) to study the relationship between the dimensions of burnout and resilience in teachers.

The hypotheses posed were as follows: (h1) teachers were expected to perceive their work environment as potentially stressful, obtaining above average scores in the TALIS 2018 [69,70]; (h2) teachers were expected to be found with high levels of emotional exhaustion, cynicism and low professional efficacy simultaneously [13,30,31]; (h3) it was expected to find a higher percentage of teachers in the low resilience rating [62,63]; (h4) it was expected to find a direct and statistically significant relationship between the burnout dimensions (emotional exhaustion and cynicism) and teachers’ perception of job stress in the TALIS variables, as well as an inversely proportional and statistically significant relationship between these TALIS variables and professional efficacy on the assumption that the environmental conditions measured by this instrument allow the presence of work-related stress to be detected [20]; (h5) it was expected to find an inversely proportional and statistically significant relationship between teachers’ levels of resilience and the perception of stress they attributed to the working conditions exposed in the TALIS 2018 [14,62]; and (h6) it was expected to find an inversely proportional relationship between resilience and the burnout dimensions (emotional exhaustion and cynicism), as well as a direct and significant relationship between resilience and professional effectiveness [64,68].

Finally, the questions posed in this research were:

Question 1: How do teachers perceive their work environment based on the TALIS test?

Question 2: What percentage of teachers have burnout syndrome?

Question 3: What percentage of teachers have low resilience?

Question 4: How do the dimensions of burnout relate to the selected items in TALIS?

Question 5: How does resilience relate to the selected items in TALIS?

Question 6: How do the dimensions of burnout relate to resilience?

2  Method

2.1 Design

The research consisted of a non-experimental study with a quantitative approach and ex-post facto design. A descriptive and correlational study was carried out to respond to the objectives stated in the previous section.

2.2 Participants

The participants were selected using a non-random sampling technique. To access the sample, the management teams of 538 public schools and 32 private-subsidized schools in a region of southeastern Spain were contacted by e-mail during the 2021/2022 academic year. The initial or invited sample of active teachers in the zone was 25,865 people according to the Regional Statistics Center of Murcia [71]. The accepting sample was 502 teachers who freely decided to participate in the present investigation, leaving a real sample of 470 participants after discarding incomplete or erroneous questionnaires, thus discarding 6.38% of the accepting sample. The real sample is representative, with a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of 5%. As for the gender of the participants, we found that 74.9% were women, with the remaining 25.1% being men. The ages of the participants ranged from 24 to 62 years, with an average age of 43 years, and about teaching experience, the average was 15 years of teaching. As for the type of centre, 89.6% (n = 421) work in a public school, 9.6% (n = 45) in a subsidized school, and the remaining 0.9% (n = 4) in a private school. In conclusion, regarding the employment status of the participants, it should be noted that 8.7% (n = 41) have a permanent contract, 3.4% (n = 16) have a fixed-term contract, 68.1% (n = 320) are civil servants, and the remaining 19.8% (n = 93) are temporary civil servants.

2.3 Instruments

A survey divided into four blocks was administered to collect information:

Ad hoc sociodemographic questionnaire. This instrument was used to collect general information on the participants, including the following sections: Sex (male or female), age (in years), locality (open-ended question), type of center (public, private, or subsidized), employment status (civil servant, temporary or contracted) and experience (in years).

Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2018. It is an instrument developed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development [69], with the aim of studying the main variables that shape the teaching work situation. TALIS is one of the international benchmark studies on the learning climate in classrooms and the difficulties encountered by teachers; its aim is to know the opinion of teachers and school principals around the world to implement policies that consider the teaching profession and improve the learning process of students. To this end, after carrying out the first two cycles in the years 2008 and 2013, came the last one carried out so far in 2018, which ended on June 19, 2019, with the participation of teachers and principals from 48 countries around the world and collaborating in Spain 7,047 teachers and 396 principals from a total of 843 educational centers both public and private [70]. For the present research, the following TALIS items were administered to assess potential sources of stress or indications of stress: “I experience stress in my job”, “my job has a negative impact on my mental health”, “having too many classes to teach [is stressful]”, “maintaining discipline in the classroom [is stressful]” and “I am satisfied with my job” (reverse item). A scale of 1 to 4 was used. 1: Not at all, 2: To some extent: 3: Quite a lot, 4: Very much.

Inventario de Burnout de Maslach (MBI). An instrument originally published by [72], validated for different professions and work contexts [35,73], there is also a Spanish version [74], adapted from the MBI-General Survey Schaufeli et al. [75]. The questionnaire consists of 15 items on a Likert-type scale in the form of statements about feelings and attitudes. As an example, one of the items appearing in the questionnaire was: “I am “burned out” at the end of a day’s work”. Responses ranged from never/never (0) to always/every day (6). This test groups items into three scales: emotional exhaustion (items: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6), cynicism (items: 8, 9, 13, and 14), and professional efficacy (items: 5, 7, 10, 11, 12 and 15). To be considered optimal for MBI consistency, Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient should be between 0.7 and 0.9 in each dimension [76]. In the present investigation, the Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient for each dimension was as follows: for emotional exhaustion, it was 0.92; for cynicism, it was 0.87; and for personal/professional efficacy it was 0.82, which supports the validity of this instrument.

Brief Resilience Coping Scale (BRCS). Scale by [77] and adapted to Spanish [78]. This questionnaire aims to describe how you react to difficulties, for this purpose it consists of 4 items on a Likert-type scale covering responses ranging from not at all reflecting a typical reaction in you to when the statement reflects your usual way of responding. As an example of one of the items: “I believe that I can learn positive things when facing difficult situations”. To correct this instrument, the four items must be added together to obtain an overall index that reflects the level of resilience of the subject, considering that the higher the score obtained, the greater the resilience. The original version of this instrument obtained a Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient of 0.69 [77]. In the present investigation, a value of 0.79 was found.

2.4 Procedure

Throughout an e-mail, teachers were encouraged to participate in the research, assuring their anonymity and explaining the general objective of the study. The ethical guidelines derived from the Helsinki protocol for human research were followed throughout the investigation. The study was voluntary, confidential, and anonymous. At all times, the participants were free to cease their participation in the completion of the questionnaire without any negative consequences. The study was part of a project approved by a university ethics committee (ID: 3749/2022).

2.5 Data Analysis

SPSS v.28 statistical software was used to analyze the data [79]. A descriptive analysis was performed to find the mean, standard deviation, percentages, and frequencies. Similarly, an inferential analysis was also carried out to analyze the relationship between the variables by applying Pearson’s correlation coefficient.

3  Results

3.1 Hypothesis One: Teachers Were Expected to Perceive Their Work Environment as Potentially Stressful

In the variable “stress that teachers experience in their work” according to the TALIS, a mean of 2.97 (SD = 0.86) was obtained according to a Likert-type scale from 1 to 4. Similarly, in the variable “my work has a negative impact on my mental health”, a mean of 2.36 was reached (SD = 0.90); around the variable “having too many classes to teach”, the mean was 2.73 (SD = 1.02); regarding the variable “maintaining discipline in the classroom” the resulting mean was 2.82 (SD = 0.96); and to conclude, in relation to the variable “I am satisfied with my job”, the measure obtained was 3.22 (SD = 0.79).

3.2 Hypothesis Two: Teachers Were Expected to be Found with High Levels of Emotional Exhaustion, Cynicism, and Low Professional Efficacy

The levels of the different dimensions of burnout that respond to specific objective number 2 are shown in Table 1, highlighting a high level of emotional exhaustion in almost half of the participants. In relation to burnout (high emotional exhaustion, high cynicism, and low professional efficacy), the results show that 6% of participants (n = 28) suffer from it.

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By levels, the mean for the emotional exhaustion dimension was 3.14 (SD = 1.37) according to a Likert-type scale from 0 to 6; for the cynicism dimension the mean drops to 2.26 (SD = 1.38); and finally, for the professional efficacy dimension, the mean rises to 4.61 (SD = 1.38).

3.3 Hypothesis Three: It Was Expected to Find a Higher Percentage of Teachers in the Low Resilience Rating

In relation to the levels of resilience with respect to the BRCS, as shown in Fig. 1, there is a high percentage around the medium level of 38.3% (n = 180). Similarly, a low level of resilience of 29.8% (n = 140) is obtained and around the high level we find 31.9% (n = 150).

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Figure 1: Frequency of participants by level of resilience
Source: Own elaboration

3.4 Hypothesis Four: It Was Expected to Find a Direct Relationship between the Burnout Dimensions and Teachers’ Perception of Job Stress, and an Inverse Relationship between These TALIS Variables and Professional Efficacy

The relationship analysis between the TALIS variables and the burnout dimensions is shown in Table 2. Of note is the direct and statistically significant relationship between the variable “emotional exhaustion” and “my job has a negative impact on my mental health” (r = .664, p < .01). Also noteworthy is the inverse and statistically significant relationship between “cynicism” and “I am satisfied with my job” (r =  −.429, p < .01).

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3.5 Hypothesis Five: It was Expected to Find an Inverse Relationship between Teachers’ Levels of Resilience and Working Conditions Exposed in the TALIS 2018

The analysis of the relationship between the TALIS variables and resilience is shown in Table 3. Of note is the direct and statistically significant relationship between the variable “resilience” and “I am satisfied with my job” (r = .292, p < .01). Also noteworthy is the inverse and statistically significant relationship between “resilience” and “maintaining discipline in the classroom” (r =  −.096, p < .05).

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3.6 Hypothesis Six: It Was Expected to Find an Indirect Relationship between Resilience and Burnout Dimensions, as Well as a Direct One between Resilience and Professional Effectiveness

The analysis of the relationship between the dimensions of burnout and resilience is shown in Table 4. Of note is the direct and statistically significant relationship between the variable “resilience” and “professional effectiveness” (r = .449, p < .01). Also noteworthy is the statistically significant inverse relationship between “resilience” and “cynicism” (r =  −.221, p < .01).

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4  Discussion

The general objective of this research was to analyze the levels of job stress, burnout, resilience, and other associated variables among teachers. To know what the current situation of the teaching staff in terms of their level of work stress [13,20,21], resilience [34,45,62], and other associated variables [14,19,20,22], the present research was conducted in a region of southeastern Spain by considering a series of hypothesis.

Regarding hypothesis one, some environmental factors are perceived as potentially stressful among teachers in line with previous research [1920,22]. Specifically, it is observed how despite the fact that the research data ensure that teachers are generally satisfied with their work, it falls far short of the results obtained in the Spanish report where it is stated that 97% of primary and 96% of secondary teachers are satisfied with the work they perform [23], only surpassed in this regard by Belgium and Denmark [70]. This situation is repeated around the variable experiencing stress at work since the results of the Spanish report place around 35% of Spanish primary teachers and 33% of secondary teachers who claim to suffer quite a lot or a lot of stress during their working day [23], or in another research in which 46.8% of teachers perceived a medium level of stress in their day to day, while 23% showed high levels [1]. All the figures are below the average with respect to the data obtained in the present research, which shows that the teaching staff in the study area say they feel a higher level of stress with respect to their colleagues in other autonomous communities. In this sense, 55% of Spanish secondary school teachers and 40% of primary school teachers state that maintaining discipline in the classroom is one of the main daily stressors [23]. It seems, therefore, that the teaching profession presents several variables that are perceived as stressful in this group [3,31,32].

Regarding the second hypothesis which was expected to find high levels of emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and low professional efficacy among teachers simultaneously, it is observed that the data obtained reflect that there are 6% of teachers experience burnout while the percentage of other studies are different, for instance, 2.40% and 1.20% [13,50,80]. This circumstance may be because the samples of other investigations are lower than the present one, or the researchers’ manifest suspicions that there is a higher percentage since there are participants who appear with high burnout and cynicism but with normal efficacy.

Regarding the third hypothesis, which was expected to find teachers with low levels of resilience, this level is the most frequent and motivated in part by the adaptations and changes produced when teaching as a result of COVID-19, it should be noted that this hypothesis is not fulfilled since the highest percentage corresponds to a medium level of resilience, which is in line with other studies conducted shortly before the start of the pandemic [34,45,56]. However, it is worth noting that there is a percentage of 29.8% (n = 140) of teachers who obtain results associated with a low level of resilience. In another recent study, teachers were also found to have low levels of stress [63]. This leads to reflecting on the need to develop intervention programs for teachers at this level [61].

Following with the fourth hypothesis that presupposed finding a direct and statistically significant relationship between the dimensions of burnout (emotional exhaustion and cynicism) and teachers’ perception of job stress in the TALIS variables, as well as an inversely proportional and statistically significant relationship between these TALIS variables and professional efficacy, it is clear that the way in which teachers perceive their work (stress in their day-to-day work, feeling of a negative impact on their mental health, perception of having too many classes to teach or not being able to maintain classroom discipline) has a direct influence on having greater professional burnout and/or cynicism, as well as decreasing their professional effectiveness, which leads us to think about the need to provide teachers not only with tools to ensure classroom functioning but also with psychosocial support from the administrations that contribute to improving the work environment [81], and learning how to manage emotions in order to try to reduce inappropriate behaviors and to know themselves [82]. In conclusion, environmental conditions-measured in TALIS-seem to play a relevant role and maintain a directly proportional relationship with teacher stress levels [19]. TALIS, therefore, can function as a tool to detect the source of teaching stress [27,29].

The fifth hypothesis that expected to find an inversely proportional and statistically significant relationship between the levels of resilience of teachers and the perception of stress that they attribute to the working conditions exposed in the TALIS 2018 point out that the fact that teachers are satisfied with their work contributes to having greater resilience and that in the same way, situations such as not maintaining order in the classroom or that the teaching practice results in a negative impact on mental health hinder this resilient capacity, which is in line with other authors who claim that teachers who have a higher level of stress have significantly worse mental health [1,10,11,32]. The TALIS test can therefore also provide additional information in the study of teacher resilience levels by providing a clear picture of workplace conditions on a large scale [14,62,63].

To conclude, in relation to the last hypothesis, according to which it was expected to find an inversely proportional relationship between resilience and the dimensions of burnout and cynicism, and a direct and significant relationship between resilience and professional effectiveness, the results confirm this hypothesis being in line with other studies that show that emotional exhaustion has a very close relationship with coping with conflict situations in a negative way [64,68,83], and that resilience may be a key factor among teachers in coping with burnout by turning threats into challenges and personal growth [10,14,25,31,59,62].

4.1 Limitations and Future Research Lines

In relation to the limitations of the present study, it is worth mentioning the difficulty in accessing certain information databases, which has been a drawback when consulting the literature related to the object of our study. There was also not much literature on TALIS and its relationship with stress and resilience [13,50], compared to the dimensions of burnout [2,14,24,30,31], for example. Another limitation was the size of the sample and its geographical location so the extrapolation of results needs to be done with caution. It should also be noted that some items were not completed by all the participants so a percentage of the initial sample was lost. On the other hand, it is observed that there is little data related to the study region in the TALIS 2018 reports, which makes a direct comparison with our results difficult.

As a perspective for the future, it would be interesting to study in depth the gender differences among teachers, to know whether experience adds or subtracts when it comes to knowing how to manage stress, to make a comparison between the results of large population centers and other smaller ones, to interpret the results according to the type of teacher’s contract, as well as the type of center where they work, to make a comparison between the results of teachers of kindergarten, primary and secondary schools. In the future, it would also be an interesting approach to expand the number of participants as well as the regions and countries [4,31,42]. Other interesting issues to study are the relationship between stress and social media [84], the role of coping strategies [85], and leadership [68].

5  Conclusion

In a nutshell, the global aim was to study resilience, burnout, and stress-related determing factors among teachers. The main conclusions were that there was a direct and statistically significant relationship between resilience and professional effectiveness and an inverse relationship between emotional exhaustion and cynicism. Resilience was also inversely related to job stress, perceived negative impact of work on mental health, excessive class size, and maintaining classroom discipline, variables analyzed through TALIS. As for the dimensions of burnout, emotional exhaustion was positively related to mental health, having too much teaching, maintaining discipline, and cynicism. Teachers with high professional effectiveness were indirectly related to the negative impact of work on mental health, stress generated by teaching, and discomfort associated with maintaining order in class. It was noted that 6% of teachers suffered from burnout and simultaneously met the requirements of high emotional exhaustion, high cynicism, and low professional effectiveness. Another aspect to highlight is that the way in which teachers feel about their work directly influences their greater exhaustion and/or cynicism and lower professional efficacy, in the same way, those who are satisfied with their work will have a greater resilient capacity, which is also key to facing burnout situations. It is clear the need to design and implement prevention and intervention programs with teachers to improve emotional management and increase resilience, which will inevitably have an impact on higher quality education for the students of the region.

The implementation and analysis of this research are expected to allow us to understand the current reality of teachers according to their working conditions, levels of burnout, and resilience. This knowledge enables the design of prevention and intervention programs with this group in line with previous studies [18,20,61], to ensure emotional stability among teachers that allows them to develop their role in an optimal way and that in turn their health is not harmed, as well as to improve educational quality [14]. Furthermore, the fact that internationally validated psychological psychometric instruments are related to such a relevant educational survey is a step forward in the development of synergies that link psychology with education and make it possible to relate psychological aspects with the situation of the educational system. On the other hand, it should be noted that the data were collected after the pandemic by COVID-19 and are therefore extremely useful for understanding the current situation in aspects such as stress and threat perception, in line with other studies [6,20,30,85].

Authorship: The authors confirm contribution to the paper as follows: study conception and design: J.L.M-L. and J.P.M-R.; data collection: J.L.M-L.; analysis and interpretation of results: J.L.M-L, F.M.M-R., C.R-E., and I.M.; draft manuscript preparation: J.L.M-L, J.P.M-R., F.M.M-R., C.R-E., and I.M. All authors reviewed the results and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Funding Statement: The authors received no specific funding for this study.

Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest to report regarding the present study.

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Cite This Article

APA Style
Moreno-Lucas, J.L., Martínez-Ramón, J.P., Morales-Rodríguez, F.M., Ruiz-Esteban, C., Méndez, E.I. (2023). Stress, burnout, and resilience: are teachers at risk?. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 25(2), 207-222. https://doi.org/10.32604/ijmhp.2023.025901
Vancouver Style
Moreno-Lucas JL, Martínez-Ramón JP, Morales-Rodríguez FM, Ruiz-Esteban C, Méndez EI. Stress, burnout, and resilience: are teachers at risk?. Int J Ment Health Promot. 2023;25(2):207-222 https://doi.org/10.32604/ijmhp.2023.025901
IEEE Style
J.L. Moreno-Lucas, J.P. Martínez-Ramón, F.M. Morales-Rodríguez, C. Ruiz-Esteban, and E.I. Méndez "Stress, Burnout, and Resilience: Are Teachers at Risk?," Int. J. Ment. Health Promot., vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 207-222. 2023. https://doi.org/10.32604/ijmhp.2023.025901


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