Professional Stress and Strain in Teachers

H.G. Schönwälder, J. Berndt, F. Ströver, G. Tiesler

Schriftenreihe der Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin

Forschung Fb 989

Wirtschaftsverlag NW, Bremerhaven, 2003

ISBN 3-86701-999-1X



A study was performed on professional stress of female (N=108) and male (N=70) teachers of 3 primary and 2 secondary schools at the city of Bremen (Germany). Methods employed were a questionnaire on the subjective perception of stress and stress factors, a number of medical and psychological tests to evaluate psychophysical state, long-term ECG to obtain heart frequency as an indicator of psychophysical load. School lessons were observed and recorded for one week per class. Some Teachers were accompanied and their activities recorded during entire working days. In some cases sound pressure levels were recorded during lessons in class rooms, workrooms, gyms, and during musical education. Results show remarkable deficits of psychophysical state in a high percentage of teachers and a poor recreational effect of pauses. Psychophysical performance is thus deteriorated from the first through the following lessons of the day. Sound pressure levels during school lesson frequently exceed values recommended for “mental” or “informational” work considerably. Preliminary results of a consecutive project (“noise in schools”) which concentrates upon such phenomena, seem to confirm such observations.




Key words:



Teachers, professional stress, psychological stress, physical strain, psychophysical reactions, fatigue