Date of Award

8-7-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

David Houchins, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kris Varjas, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

DaShaunda Patterson, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Robert Hendrick, Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

Andrew Roach, Ph.D.

Abstract

Researchers (e.g., Greenberg, Brown, & Abenavoli, 2016) suggest that P-12 teachers are routinely exposed to high levels of stress and prone to burnout, which is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a lack of personal accomplishment (Maslach, Leiter, & Johnson, 1996). Burnout has been associated with deleterious effects on teachers’: (a) health and wellbeing; (b) job performance; (c) job commitment; and (d) workplace relationships (Greenberg et al., 2016). Thus, burnout is a critical issue that must be addressed in order to maintain a solid workforce of engaged and effective teachers who influence positive student outcomes. According to the transactional model of stress, stress is the gap between an individual’s demands and resources for meeting those demands (Lazarus & Folkman, 1987). As such, teachers may benefit from opportunities to develop effective coping resources. Chapter One is a systematic review of 18 studies of stress interventions for P-12 teachers in the United States. Participant groups included special educators as well as general educators. Results suggested that teachers who participated in stress interventions reported a range of benefits that included reduced stress, burnout, health-related symptoms, and student misbehaviors as well as increased job satisfaction, teacher efficacy, and mindfulness. The discussion section focuses on the implications for policy and practice. Chapter Two is an experimental study that explored the preliminary outcomes of Mindfulness and More for School Personnel (MMSP), an online stress intervention for school personnel. MMSP instructed scientifically-supported individual coping strategies and addressed ways to build supportive relationships with others in the school workplace. Results demonstrated large positive effects of MMSP on study outcomes. In comparison to a control group, MMSP participants demonstrated significant: (a) decreases in burnout, (b) increases in teacher efficacy; and (c) greater use of coping strategies. Thus, MMSP holds promise as a feasible program that may improve teacher stress management skills and prevent burnout.

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