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Causes Of Occupational Stress Psychology Essay

Since time immemorial, teaching has been qualified to be a noble profession. Ravinchandran and Rajendran, 2007. What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation” said Marcus tullius Cicero. Mauritius relies highly on its human resources and the responsibility to make it become a real resource somehow lies on the shoulder of teachers. However stress, do affect them as well, to the extent that teaching is considered as a high stress occupations compared to other professions (Mc Shane, 2005).It is not a secret to anyone that everyone do face occupational stress at sometime of their working life and teachers are not an exception to the latter. Teachers facing occupational stress does not affect only them personally, but, it has many indirect effect as well, namely on their output of work, and also to those students who are under his responsibility. Occupational stressors can vary from teachers to teachers and it can be subjective as well, hence this study tends to analyse the major occupational stressors among the secondary school teachers.

The national institute on occupational safety and health (1998) linked stress with psychological and physiological conditions such as stroke, cardiovascular problems, increase in blood pressure, and asthma among others and there can be working days lost due to stress related illnesses. In the United Kingdom, 40 million of working days per year are lost directly from stress-related illnesses (Jordan et al, 2003) and those working days lost undoubtedly have an indirect effect on various people, such as the students, and also on their studies. Those illnesses do start up with a sign and symptoms or any manifestations, as stated by Singh (2009) and cooper (1984), if those manifestations are detected earlier among the teachers, many health effect such as asthma, or cardiovascular disease can be prevented (Benyamini, 2009) or other measures taken such that it don’t develop in a chronic disease later on and this study will analyse all those major manifestations that can arise due stress. Unfortunately there is a scarcity of information in the related study in Mauritius, this is one of the reason why this study has been chosen so that, in the light of this study findings and recommendations, the secondary school teachers in Mauritius can have a better health and healthy environment to work in with a minimum or simply no occupational stressors.

CHAPTER 2

LITTERATURE REVIEW

2.1 STRESS

Stress is a psycho-physiological process which arises out from the intercommunication of the individual with the environment (Muhammad et al, 2010) and (luthans, 1998) which ends up in disturbances and manifestations depending on the individual characteristics such as health status or psychological process such as attitude (Muhammad et al, 2010).As reported by Ingrid (1997) adapted from Hans Selye (1982), few people would be able to give the definition of stress or even attempt to give a clear cut definition due to the huge number of causes which can contribute to stress. Stress can be defined as a charismatic situation in which a person is affront with an event, constraint or appeal related to what he desires and for which the result is perceived to be both ambiguous and vital (De Cenzo, 1998) whereas Hans selye simply said that stress is the expansive response of the body to any appeal made upon it. It is to be noted that stress can be classified into eutress and distress whereby eustress is a positive psychological response to a stressor and distress is the negative response (Geraldine, 2011). An example of eustress is an opportunity or a challenge which will lead to a promotion and for distress if any tension, worry or frustration. This study will be focusing mainly on distress. Stress is experienced by nearly all people in their life; however occupational stress is more present in the daily life of worker. As stated by Smith (2000) occupational stress is widespread and can be a major cause of ill health.

2.2 OCCUPATIONAL STRESS

Jobs have always been a little stressful however over the last few years the workplace has become increasingly stressful. As per the report of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health 75% of workers believe that today’s workers experience more work stress than the prior generation. In 1992, the United Nations in its report even qualified job stress as the 20th century disease (Bob, Rollin, and Bruce, 1997). The World Health Organization (WHO) has characterise job-related stress in countries that are developing as a "modern hazard in a traditional working environment” and it is not to be forgotten that Mauritius as well is a developing country. Due to the important metamorphosis in company organization, change in nature of work, and technological advances, stress affect employees of all hierarchical level.

Work-related stress can be said to be experienced when the appeals from the work environment exceed the employees ability to cope with (or control) them. It is not a disease, but it can lead to problem of ill health in areas like mental and physical health. Occupational stress is a sign of a problem within the organization, not individual weakness (European Agency 2000a, 2002a). It is to be noted that in this study, the term ‘work related stress’ and the term ‘occupational stress’ has been used interchangeably however they are distinguished from each other(Health and safety executive,2006) work related stress includes cases where work may have aggravated the stress experienced hence work may be a contributory factor but not necessarily the sole cause whereby the term occupational stress refers to cases where work is the sole cause of the stress experienced and associated symptoms of ill health. The Health and safety executive defined work related stress as the unfavorable reaction people have to increasing pressures or any types of request on them at work. Those reactions, people have to cope with a great number of demands, trying to cope with their duties and responsibilities concerned about their job and they have difficulty in doing so. On an individual level, it is often the fact of not being able to cope with the work load and environment with an associated negative manifestation. In comparison with other professions, teaching is considered as a high stress occupation. (Lambros, 2006) and (Mc and Von, 2005).

2.3 MODELS OF OCCUPATIONAL STRESS

A stress model helps to better understand the various stages, and therefore can help people to better cope with the stress. The main model of stress is discussed below:

2.3.1 HANS SELYE MODEL OF STRESS

Selye (1977) developed the “general adaptation syndrome” model .The general adaptation syndrome can be defined as the sum of whole expansive, systemic reactions, of the body which arise due to continuous and prolonged exposure to stress. When a person emits symptoms of not being in good health, it may surely be due to the fact that he is stressed. He identified that stress gather up in the body and if the relevant stressor is not removed, the person body will go through predictable phases as shown in Figure 1. Hans selye talked of three phases:

ALARM STAGE

This is the stage whereby the body recognize that there is a danger and prepare to deal or not to deal with the threat which is also known as the stressor, this situation is often called the fight or flight response. The stress hormone, adrenaline, is secreted and give the person the energy to fight or “flight” the stressor.

RESISTANCE STAGE

In this stage the body tries to return to a situation of psychological tranquility by resisting the alarm due to the fact that the threat still exists. The body remains activated however on a lesser extent than in the alarm stage but sufficient to cause an increase in the metabolic rate and consequently it may enter the third and final stage

EXHAUSTION STAGE

Exhaustion takes place when one or more target organs shows sign on dysfunction, this happens when the body can no longer meet up with the demand places upon it and start to dysfunction.

This is the state whereby a disease is diagnosed which shows that a disease is the consequence of the related stressor. This can result in having serious consequences even death of the organ or the organism as a whole.

http://210.9.134.6/zinecmt/templ/aipc/ezineimages/stress.gif

Diagram 1: graphical evolution of the three stages of general adaptation syndrome.

(Source: Carlson et al,(eds) (2007). Psychology: The Science of Behaviour (6th Ed). Boston, USA: Allyn and Bacon-Pearson)

The above theory has been a basis for later research work to be carried out, however there are some issues with it, as it has been carried out on rats, and to extend it to humans may not be that clever, considering the emotional content of the stress perceived which may alter the way a human will react to the stress. Also as the name of the theory state, selye claimed it to be ‘general’ irrespective of any nature of stress, however different type of stressors may act differently and hence different responses may be observed.

2.3.2 THE PERSON- ENVIRONMENT FIT MODEL

The person-environment fit model is one of the well known among others, whereby it lays emphasis on the interaction between the peculiarity of the individual and that of the situation. One important aspect of this interaction is that occupational stress is the extent to which the individual will fit to his working environment, in other words, according to the person-environment fit model , the extent to which the person will face occupational stress depend on how much can he fit the workplace and the demands of the work thereof. Other factors can be motivation, ability and productivity.  If the person-environment fit turn out to be wrong, it can cause serious problems in any work environment. Occupational Stress and lack of productivity are natural conflicts related to the fact of a failure between a person fit into their workplace environment.

This model can be highly related to occupational stress as it is important for the person to feel his importance in the work place and to fit the working environment so that later on, the problem of occupational stress don’t arise, this was confirmed by Edwards and Ship (2007) whereby the study he did confirmed that the misfit between the person and the environment can lead to people having stress. As well as not being able to meet up the demands, the person-environment fit can also failed due to different motives of the individual and the work respectively which will surely lead to occupational stress. Person-environment fit theory argues that stress effects may arise when threatening job demands lead to disequilibrium in the interaction between an individual and the work environment. Although influential, the model is considered to have some drawbacks .There remains confusion over the notion of fit and its measurement (Edwards & Cooper, 1990) and also difficulty to conceptualise the notion of fit (Julian and john, 2010)

2.3.3 THE KARASEK DEMANDS- CONTROL MODEL

The demand-control model was developed by Karasek in 1979 and it focuses on the job demands and control at a work place situation whereby the employee is faced with a heavy work load/demand and at the same time , is given little control over the work. Hence any job which has a very high demand and very little or simply no control is given to the employee will end up in the employee facing stress, as confirmed by Doi.Y (2005), this is also known as the ‘strain hypothesis’. Demands can be in terms of various work activities, such as a close deadline to submit a particular work, too much responsibilities to handle, conflicting roles at work, not having the right to share views in decision making among others and control can also be in terms of the decision making of the employee and the way how he want to carry his job, this model divide the employees in four categories.

The first category is the one who have high control over the high demands are known as active employees, second category, those who have high control but low demand, as low strain category of employees. Third category, those with low demands and low control are known as the passive category and finally the one with low control and high demands, as the high strain category (D Overgaard et al, 2004). The most common criticism is that the demand –Control model is too simple. Peter, Arnold B., Ad de (2001) and Johnson (1989) has argued that job control is not the only resource available to coping with job demands and proposed that social support from colleagues or superiors may also function as a mediator of the relationship between job demands and Stress reactions which agrees with the study done by Cristina et al (2012) who said that this model does not apply equally to all individuals and various factors, such as personality can act as a moderator or a buffer.

2.4 TEACHERS STRESS

In the field of education, it is not easy to define teachers stress; however Kyriacou (2001) defined the latter as “the involvement by a teacher of abhorrent, negative emotions, such as anger, Anxiety, tension, frustration or depression, resulting from some aspect of their work as a teacher”. Since the late 1970’s, many research work has been done to analyse teacher stress. The wealth of research published over the last years shown that there is a big problem concerning teachers and they do face stress. Compared to other professions, teaching is considered to be high stress occupations (Mc Shane and von Glinow, 2005), which therefore results to higher stress level among teachers consequently leading to poor performance, staff health problems and higher job dissatisfaction (Williams and Gersh, 2004).Occupational stress did had a negative effect on the job performance of the teachers in a secondary school which in turn may result in poor teaching to the students (Mohammad Aklaq et al, 2010). A survey carried out by Karl Peltzer et all (2008) proved that teachers do have a high level of stress as well as job stress were associated with most stress- relating illnesses such as hypertension, mental distress, tobacco and alcohol abuse which agrees with the study of Wang pei and Zhang Guoli (2008) who deducted from their study that the negative effect of occupational stress on teachers health are significant. Teachers stress can have various consequences therefore it is important to manage it and one way of managing it , is by knowing the sources which stress the teachers most and deal with it directly.

2.5 MANIFESTATIONS OF STRESS AMONG TEACHERS

Sign and symptoms of stress among teachers can be seen as manifestations when they face a threshold of stress that they cannot control or deal with. It can differ individually as some may be more prone to certain symptoms than others. Sign and symptoms of stress or those manifestations need to be identified as soon as possible so that it doesn’t end up in serious consequences or even fatalities. These can be categorized into three main areas: first of all, the mental symptoms, for example depression and anxiety, secondly, the physical symptoms such as indigestion, palpitations and stomach cramps, and finally the behavioural symptoms which may be in terms of alcohol abuse, using prescription drugs etc. Despite being exposed to same level of stress, secondary school teachers may react differently and have different symptoms to that stressor, some teachers may exhibit depression whereas others may have back ache (leung et al, 2009).Mental symptoms/emotional symptoms tend to be most present and among the first reaction to stress from the teachers. A study carried out in the George region in south Africa showed that teachers stress manifest itself mainly on a mental or emotional level as well as but to a much lesser extent in terms of physical level (M.A.J Olivier, D.J.L and Venter, 2003).In the study carried out by Kyriacou.C and J. Sutcliffe (2011) they found that, the most frequent symptoms of stress reported were tiredness and feeling frustrated

2.6 SOURCES OF STRESS AMONG TEACHERS

The sources or causes of stress are also known as stressors. Stressors vary in severity and duration, some situations maybe stressful for everyone but in other situations, individuals may react differently. What is a stressor for a particular individual may not be a stressor for the other one. For some teachers, not being able to cope with the classroom indiscipline maybe a source of stress whereas for others, this may be easily tacked with and not a source of stress hence despite every one of them are teachers; sources of stress may vary from people to people, from organization to organization as well as from situation to situation. Factors such as the mental state of the individual, degree of stress coping, experience of teaching and other demographic variables may play a vital role in deciding if a specific problem can be a cause of stress or not. The research conducted by Brown & Ralph (1992) concluded the following most Prevailing work-related factors leading to stress among teachers, which gave us a better Idea and knowledge on teachers’ stress:

—

Students-An absence of discipline or disruptive students, students motivation and their respective attitude towards the class and their teachers, the size of the class and their ability to cope and preparing the students for examination purposes. Stressors such as disruptive students may endanger the mental health of the teachers as confirmed by (Nurrul Izzah Abdul Samad et al , 2010) and the national union of teachers in UK(2009)

Changes- A lack of information and the necessary resources to smoothen or make changes easier as well as more changes than the demand by the teachers which end up in stress among the teachers. This agrees with the study of kyriacou.(2001) whereby change itself is implicated in teachers stress and could be a problem thereof

The management of the school –There is poor cooperation in terms of decision making process and no required training is given to meet the job new demands which keep increasing day by day, an example can be new and latest technological demands, the latter may as well be a potential source of stress for teachers (Olivier and Venter, 2003).

Interpersonal relationships- poor social interactions among colleagues and lack of team spirit which may result in interpersonal conflicts. Reviews studies have identified interpersonal conflicts as a major source of teachers stress.( lambros lazuras , 2006)

Parents and the community-parents pressure on the teachers to make their children achieve good results and accommodate unrealistic expectations. A study done by G.M steyn and G.D.Kamper (2006) shown that Parents pressure do cause educators to experience stress and the community poses a serious hindrance to learning. Another modern problem nowadays is a particular type of role ambiguity as often the teachers have to nurture, counsel or be mother and father of certain students due to family shift work factors or simply divorce factors.(Nhundu,T,J, 1999) which was confirmed by Joachim Stoeber and Dirk Rennert( 2008).

In short, the most common sources of stress for teachers mentioned above are poorly motivated pupils, ill discipline, organizational culture, poor working conditions and poor collegiality.

Jarvis (2002) in his critical review of more recent findings on teacher stress focus on three ample causative factors for this:

(1) Factors intrinsic to teaching, (e.g., working condition, work under load/overload, repetition and boredom)

(2) Cognitive factors which affect the teachers (e.g., time pressures, role conflict and role ambiguity), and

(3) Systemic factors operating at the institutional and managerial level (e.g., appraisal system, Non-managerial support, reward system)

Holmes (2005) stated that several scholars researching on teachers stress and stress management have categorized some situations that caused stress as follows:

(1) Stress resulting from anticipation: fear of what’s to come, worry and anxiety.

(2) Stress as a response to a current situation: it’s happening now, and you have to react.

(3) Stress from the past: it happened a while ago, but is still lingering in your mind and seemingly impossible to let go.

(4) Chronic stress: it’s an on-going situation, or reaction to a specific event, the impact of which is lingering.

Career development can also be a major source of stress (G.M steyn and G.D. kamper, 2006),which agrees with the study done by Ahlam b el shikieri and Hassan A. musa (2012)These can be classified into three main categories namely, job security, performance appraisal and professional training whereby the threat of losing one job is a potential source of stress (M.A.J Olivier and Venter, 2003).Any possibility of demotion may also lead to stress( Rout and Rout,2002).the performance appraisal system can also be a major source of stress for the individual especially if the outcome may influence any promotion or the latter salary.( Rout and Rout, 2002).Required training programme is needed to meet new demands and challenges of the education sector.

2.7 FIMIAN TEACHER STRESS INVENTORY

In the present study, we have followed the Fimian’s teachers stress inventory with minor adaptations to suit the local context in Mauritius. This model explains the teacher stress in a ten factor theory, whereby five consist of sources of occupational stress and the other five about manifestations of stress. According to fimian, when those stressors are present, teachers do have stress and it becomes evident in terms of psychological, behavioural and other type of symptoms. It should thus be possible to identify one array of events that acts as sources of stress and other array of stress that acts as manifestations of stress. Teachers stress is related more to environmental events and the perception of these events, than it is to personal or professional variables such as teacher age, gender, age, education level and number of years of teaching. The factors described in the inventory are time management, work related stressors, professional distress, discipline and motivation, professional investment, emotional manifestations, fatigue manifestations, cardiovascular manifestations, gastroenterology manifestations and behavioural manifestations. A study carried out by M.A.J Olivier(2003) using the fimian teachers stress inventory concluded that teachers stress manifest itself mainly on an emotional level as well as on a physical level and the most significant source of stress among them was professional investment however the results cannot be generalized as the limited scope of the investigation. In 2009, the study carried out by Victoria in New Orleans, among novice secondary school teachers, using the fimian teacher stress inventory found that time management, along with discipline and motivation, were the two highest sources of stress for novice teachers moreover Fatigue manifestation and emotional manifestation were the most apparent manifestations of stress, novice secondary teachers may not have those experience to tackle with stress and it may have been different sources or manifestations if they were not novice. Another study carried out by Rubina hanif, Sadaf tariq and Masood nadeem (2011) using the same inventory concluded that teachers shows highest level of stress at work related stressors and fatigue manifestations was the most common one, however this study was carried out in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, and the teachers of Islamabad may not be facing same problem as small town or cities teachers are facing, hence the sample is not well represented.

2.8 SUMMARY OF LITTERATURE REVIEW

CHAPTER 3

METHODOLOGY

3.1 INTRODUCTION

This chapter provides a foundation and rationale for the adoption of the research methodology. The implementation of the research and criteria for selecting the target participants will be discussed. The procedures used to analyze data will be delineated in order to safeguard the credibility of this research.

3.2 RESEARCH METHOD AND ITS IMPORTANCE

Research is a logical and systematic way of finding useful and relevant information on a specific topic (Rajasekar et al, 2006).It is also the process of collecting, analysing, and interpreting data in order to understand a specific problem (Carrie, 2007).Any procedure or scheme used to achieve the latter and to meet up with the objectives of the study is known as the research method. A proper research method is of vital importance as it’s the key to have proper results according to the study that is being done.

3.3DATA COLLECTION METHODS

According to Hanson (2008), there are two different approaches to carry out a research:

Qualitative approach

Quantitative approach

In this study, a Quantitative approach has been used.

3.3.1 QUALITATIVE APPROACH

Qualitative research is delineated by the collection and analysis of textual data (interviews and surveys and observation (Olds et al, 2005)).The results of a qualitative study cannot be quantified and have to be answered and discussed by contextual description of the relevant data. The research questions that can be answered by qualitative studies are questions such as: What is occurring? Why does something occur? , moreover it should be noted that qualitative research should not be deem to be less or more inferior or rigorous than quantitative as it has its own set of data collection and a number of means to analyse those data which ensure the trustworthiness of the findings (Ljungberg and Douglas, 2008).

3.3.2 QUANTITATIVE APPROACH

Quantitative research work is based on the measurement of quantities or amount (Rajasekar et al, 2006). The goal of quantitative studies for a researcher is to protrude his research work done to the larger population through an objective process. Data are collected through surveys and are quantified through statistical analysis which may help to make assumption on the larger population (Borrego and Douglas, 2009).This type of research is known to be structured since the data is easy to administer, can be coded easily on statistical software and it is easier to employ statistical methods such as doing bar chart, pie chart and others, as stated by Creswell (2003) quantitative research “employ strategies of inquiry such as experimental and surveys, and collect data on predetermined instruments that yield statistical data” (p. 18). Quantitative approach has different advantages. Some of them is that, it eliminates the element of subjectivity since the data are mainly analysed by statistical tools as well as it helps in following the set or goals, reaching a more objective conclusions and allow testing of hypothesis(Alexei,2002).

3.4 DATA COLLECTION METHOD USED

The quantitative approach was selected for this study .The survey tool used is a series of adapted printed questions in a form of a questionnaire. Furthermore, a quantitative approach was preferred to a qualitative study due to the fact of the various aims and objectives set had to be quantified i.e. the level and the extent of occupational stress among secondary school teachers, for which a likert scale was used (1-5 scale). In addition to the above, most studies done in this field has been using a quantitative approach rather than a qualitative one (M.A.J, 2003; Richards, 2012).

3.5 QUESTIONNAIRE DESIGN

A structured questionnaire was adapted to collect data for this study which means that all questions were set with exactly similar wordings on all the questionnaires and in the same order so as to guarantee that all participants is answering the same questions. The questionnaire was planned so as to meet all the aims and objectives set for this study.

The Fimian teacher inventory was used with minor adaptation in its demographical variables to suit the local context (M.J.Fimian, 1984). The adaptation made was that in its demographical variables, the African home language was removed and Creole was inserted as an option instead so as to suit the Mauritian context. All the questions in the questionnaire designed for this study was in English and consisted of only close ended questions. The content of this questionnaire was stringently studied so as not to include irrelevant questions consequently meeting up with the objectives of this study. The questionnaire consisted of 49 questions which were divided into two sections namely section A consisting of demographical variables, question number 1 to number 5. The section B had been subdivided into dimensions and questions related have been classified under the specific dimensions, to meet with the first objective which is to identify the stressors and the extent of the latter namely Work related stressors, Time management, , Discipline and Motivation, professional distress, Professional involvement, and to meet up the second objective which is to determine the manifestations of occupational stress, Emotional manifestations, Fatigue manifestations, Cardiovascular manifestations, Gastronomical manifestations and lastly, Behavioural manifestations dimensions were used. The first five subheadings relate to stress factors, while the last five sub-headings relate to stress manifestations

3.5.1 PILOT TEST OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE

A pilot test usually includes simulation of the real collection of data process on a small scale to assess whether or not the questionnaire will be able to perform as expected in a “real world” situation (Mubashir et al, 2010).A pilot test should be carried out to know how well the questionnaire will work under real data collection as well as it was important to know how good the questionnaire will work in the Mauritian context .A pilot test has many advantages namely: It permits a thorough check of the planned statistical and analytical procedures, giving a chance to evaluate their usefulness for the data, it helps to improve the questionnaire, Fine tune any sequence or Improve any confusing questions.

A pilot test was carried out among 10 secondary school teachers However no amendments were made after this pilot test , the questionnaire feedback from the participants was that it was satisfactory, simple, easy to understand and without any difficult words or confusing questions.

3.6 SAMPLE SIZE

It is very important to know the target population of this survey .The latter should ensure representativeness as well as a good reliability. The sample of this survey will be the selected population. The population of secondary school teachers in Mauritius as at 2011 was of 7873 (Education statistics, 2011).The sample size was calculated using Raosoft online sample size calculator, with 95% confidence interval,5% margin of error,50% response distribution and a population size of 7873, the minimum recommended sample size was of 367 .A sample size of 370 was chosen and the questionnaires distributed accordingly to the secondary school teachers.

3.7 CONTACT METHOD

There are two main method of sampling and contact method namely probability sampling and non probability sampling. Both have their advantages and disadvantages specific to them. The main difference between the two is that probability sampling involves random selection whereas non probability sampling does not include the latter. For this study, a non probability sampling method was used. The two main types of non probability sampling approaches are convenience sampling and purposive sampling.

A convenience method sampling is a technique where participants are chosen because of their ease of access and adjacency to the researcher (Faran, 2009.National institute of health, pg.35).The above technique was used to carry out this study whereby private secondary school teachers were selected and given a questionnaire to answer. This is due to many reasons, the main reason being the fact that, in private secondary schools, permission to carry out the survey and distribute questionnaires among the teachers had to be taken with the rector/manager which was a great advantage in the time taken, as compared to state secondary schools, whereby query have to be addressed to ministry of education first of all which might take very long time, consequently affecting the survey from taking place.

The convenience method have different advantages, some of them are as follows:

Effective time taken to carry out the survey

It is very cost effective due to ease of access of researcher to the targeted population.

Sample size can be achieved in a relatively fast and inexpensive way especially if it is a large sample size.

Convenience sampling may help to gather information’s which would not have been possible when using other sampling methods.

3.8 ANALYSIS OF DATA

After all the data have been collected, the statistical package for social science (SPSS) 20.0 version and the Microsoft excel 2007 were used to analyse the data obtained.

3.9 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

3.10 ETHICAL ISSUES

While carrying out the study, various ethical issues had to be respected such as to meet up with the ethics of research work. Some of the ethical issues that had to be respected are as follows:

The participants consent for participating in the survey and in filling the questionnaires had been sought for in a fair and honest manner.

The participation was completely voluntary and any participants had the right to refuse or withdraw from filling in the questionnaire.

All the information received throughout the study had been kept strictly confidential and participants were reassured of the strict confidentiality of the information they gave in the questionnaire.

No conclusion was derived out of the questionnaires obtained from a specific group of participants.

No plagiarism of work was done.

CHAPTER 4

RESULTS & DISCUSSION

4.1 INTRODUCTION

In this chapter, all the results obtained, from the analysis of the answers obtained through the questionnaires will be shown and explained. This will greatly help in the discussion part, which will be the next section.

4.2 DEMOGRAPHICAL VARIABLES

In the section A of the questionnaire used, there were five demographical variables, namely gender, years of experience as a teacher, age in years, home language and highest level of education. Table 1 shows the results obtained from the study.

Table 1: demographical variables

Demographical variable

Gender

Male

Female

Years of experience

1-10

11-20

21-30

>31

Age group

20-30

31-40

41-50

51-60

Language

English

French

Creole

Other

Level of education

Higher school certificate

Teachers diploma

Bsc/BA honours

Masters degree

P.H.D

Total frequency

165

205

167

80

82

41

129

119

63

59

35

98

233

4

10

34

254

69

3

Percentage (%)

44.6

55.4

45.1

21.6

22.2

11.1

34.9

32.2

17.0

15.9

9.5

26.5

63.0

1.0

2.7

9.2

68.6

18.6

0.8

There were a higher percentage of female teachers (55.4) as compared to male teachers (44.6) who participated in this study. 129 respondents were young aged 20-30 years old which had few year of experience namely 1 to 10 years mostly, this can be explained by the fact that young teachers prefer to begin their career in their private sector to have a working experience ,waiting for a vacancy in the public sector.63% of the teachers agreed that they use Creole as a home language and a fewer percentage rather said that they used French or English as a home language, the reason that they enunciated was that, they prefer their children to grow talking in an international language rather than Creole. Nowadays most teachers are pursuing their higher studies to obtain a Bsc honours or masters degree which explain the fact that 68.6 %of the teachers who participated in the study hold a Bsc honours degree. Unlike years ago, nowadays competition is high and the teachers wish to go for higher studies and even do their P.H.D!

4.3 FACTORS CAUSING STRESS

In relation with the objective of the study, a series of question were put in the questionnaire in the section B to identify those factors that causes stress among the secondary school teachers as well as to which extent that stressor is present for which a likert scale (1-5) was used. There were 5 dimensions, namely Time management, Work related stressors, Professional distress, Discipline and Motivation and finally Professional Investment. A short series of questions were added under each dimensions. Mean, standard deviation and variance were calculated for each dimension. A total mean was also calculated for each dimension.

4.3.1 TIME MANAGEMENT

According to table 1, the highest mean of scores which is of 3.55 concerned the statement “feel uncomfortable wasting time” is referred to the factor which do cause them stress as well as to which extent it does it, rated on a scale of 1-5 hence the latter shows that the teachers are more stressed and feel uncomfortable when wasting time and least stress with a mean of 2.36 when they think about unrelated matters during conversations. It is to be noted that time management has a mean of 3.03, which is greatly influenced by the fact that teachers feel stressed and uncomfortable when wasting time.

Table 2: Time management results

Number

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Variance

1

Easily over commit myself.

370

3.12

1.102

1.214

2

Become impatient if others do things too slowly.

370

3.06

1.102

1.214

3

Try to do more than one thing at a time.

370

3.02

1.165

1.357

4

Have little time to relax at time of the day.

370

3.22

1.189

1.413

5

Think about unrelated matters during conversations.

370

2.36

1.116

1.244

6

Feel uncomfortable wasting time.

370

3.55

1.214

1.473

7

Not enough time to get things done.

370

3.33

1.140

1.299

8

Rush in speech.

370

2.62

1.156

1.335

Valid N (list wise)

370

Overall mean

3.03

4.3.2 WORK RELATED STRESSORS

For the work related stressors dimension, a mean of 3.25 shows that having too much work to do caused the teachers to be stressed to a higher extent as compared to others, on the other hand, with a mean of 2.54, having a class with a high number of students surprisingly did not have a big effect on the level of stress of the teachers, despite the fact that they had to manage more students which could also mean more discipline problems to face however they could pretty well manage it. An overall mean of 2.91 was found for work related stressors, which was greatly influenced by the statement “too much work to do” having the highest mean of 3.25.

Table 3: Work related stressors results

Number

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Variance

1

Little time to prepare lessons/responsibilities

370

2.70

1.214

1.475

2

Too much work to do.

370

3.25

1.118

1.251

3

Pace of the school day is too fast.

370

3.01

1.136

1.290

4

Class is too big.

370

2.54

1.247

1.556

5

Personal priorities are shortchanged due to time demands.

370

3.14

1.145

1.310

6

Too much administrative paper work in the job.

370

2.84

1.266

1.603

Valid N (list wise)

370

Overall mean

2.91

4.3.3 PROFESSIONAL DISTRESS

As shown in table 3 below, results pertaining to the professional distress dimension revealed a highest mean of 3.18 to the fact that when teachers don’t have enough status and respect on their job, they are more stressed. The latter is very closely followed with a mean of 3.17 to the fact that lack of recognition for the good teaching, cause them high stress. On the contrary, the teachers do have patience in their career and the fact of not progressing as rapidly as they want in the job cause them least stress, the latter can be seen with a mean of 2.72. It can also be seen that teachers receiving an inadequate salary (mean of 3.04) is not a big stressor for them if compared with the other statements of the professional distress dimension. Professional distress was found to have an overall mean of 2.98.

Table 4: Professional distress results

Number

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

variance

1

Lack of promotion/advancement opportunities.

370

2.82

1.361

1.853

2

Not progressing as rapidly as they want in the job.

370

2.72

1.268

1.608

3

Need more status and respect on job.

370

3.18

1.339

1.793

4

Receive inadequate salary for the work.

370

3.04

1.320

1.741

5

Lack recognition for extra work/good teaching.

370

3.17

1.330

1.768

Valid N (list wise)

370

Overall mean

2.98

4.3.4 DISCIPLINE AND MOTIVATION

The teachers who had to deal with students who are poorly motivated in their class were highly frustrated and stressed as indicated by a mean of 3.44 as shown in table 4. This was not the case for teachers who had to monitor pupil behavior, for them it was not a big problem which was confirmed by having the lowest mean of 2.87 as compared to other statements and did not cause them much stress as compared to other discipline and motivation factors which might be a stressor. Another interesting fact among disciple and motivation possible stressors is that teachers are frustrated and stressed due to inadequate defined problems as well as to their authority being rejected in class among students to the same extent which is a mean of 3.26. The overall mean highly influenced by the statement “Frustrated because some of the students who are poorly motivated” for discipline and motivation is of 3.15.

Table 5: Discipline and Motivation results

Number

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

variance

1

Frustrated because of discipline problems in class.

370

2.99

1.422

2.022

2

Frustrated having to monitor pupil behavior.

370

2.87

1.358

1.844

3

Frustrated because some of the students who are poorly motivated.

370

3.44

1.207

1.456

4

Frustrated attempting to teach students who are poorly motivated.

370

3.13

1.286

1.655

5

Frustrated because of inadequate defined discipline problems.

370

3.26

1.300

1.691

6

Frustrated when authority is rejected by pupils.

370

3.26

1.372

1.882

Valid N (list wise)

370

Over all mean

3.15

4.3.5 PROFESSIONAL INV ESTMENT

According to the table 5 below, professional investment is not a big stressor for the teachers if we compare it with other stressors, nevertheless, from the mean of the questions asked, it can be concluded that with a mean of 2.91,teachers are more stressed when their personal opinions are not sufficiently taken into consideration by the management and any stakeholders in the educational sector however the fact of not being intellectually stimulated on the job caused them to be stressed to a lesser extent( mean:2.49).It is also good to note that teachers wish to improve their professional career. As we can see in the table below, with a mean of 2.80 which is relatively high, teachers are much stressed when they lack opportunities for professional improvement. The latter has an overall mean of 2.69 which is highly influenced by the fact that teachers are stressed when their personal opinions are not considered by the management.

Table 6: Professional investment results

Number

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Variance

1

Personal opinions are not sufficiently aired.

370

2.91

1.111

1.234

2

Lack control over decisions made about school matters.

370

2.57

1.204

1.449

3

Not emotionally/intellectually stimulated on the job.

370

2.49

1.263

1.595

4

Lack opportunities for professional improvement.

370

2.80

1.341

1.797

Valid N (list wise)

370

Over all mean

2.69

4.4 MAJOR STRESSORS

Table 6 below shows the overall mean calculated for each dimension as set in the questionnaire. This was done with objective to know which one is the major stressor among the different one that were asked and which one affected the teachers the most. As it can be seen in the table below, with a mean of 3.15, the major factor that causes stress to the teachers is discipline and motivation followed by time management with a mean of 3.03. On the contrary, with a mean of 2.69, it can be said that among the different stressors set in the questionnaire, the professional investment is a least source of stress to the teachers.

Table 7: overall mean of stressors results

Number

Stressors

Over all mean

1

Time management

3.03

2

Work related stressors

2.91

3

Professional distress

2.98

4

Discipline and motivation

3.15

5

Professional investment

2.69

4.5 MANIFESTATIONS OF OCCUPATIONAL STRESS

One of the objectives of the study is to determine the manifestations of occupational stress on the teachers; five dimensions were used to know to which extent occupational stress manifest itself on those specific areas namely emotional manifestations, Fatigue manifestations, Cardiovascular manifestations, Gastronomical manifestations and lastly Behavioral manifestations. The different means, standard deviation and variance were calculated for each question to be analysed later on.

4.5.1 EMOTIONAL MANIFESTATIONS

Most teachers agreed that they responded to stress by feeling anxious which showed a higher mean of 2.83 as compared to the other emotional manifestations. The teachers responded to stress on a least extent by feeling insecure among the emotional manifestations as it can be deduced from a mean of 2.35. Other emotional manifestations are relatively high as well, with a mean of 2.56, teachers also respond to stress to a high extent by a feeling of depression. As it can be seen in table 6, the overall mean for emotional manifestations is of 2.51.

Table 8: Emotional manifestations results

Number

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Variance

1

Respond to stress by feeling insecure.

370

2.35

1.278

1.632

2

Respond to stress by feeling vulnerable.

370

2.41

1.319

1.739

3

Respond to stress by feeling unable to cope.

370

2.43

1.261

1.590

4

Respond to stress by feeling depressed.

370

2.56

1.367

1.867

5

Respond to stress by feeling anxious.

370

2.83

1.330

1.768

Valid N (list wise)

370

Over all mean

2.51

.

4.5.2 FATIGUE MANIFESTATIONS

Among fatigue manifestations, the highest mean of 2.96 shows that, teachers respond to stress to a greater extent with physical exhaustion as compared with other fatigue manifestations, some relative high fatigue manifestations are also the fact that teachers respond to stress by physical weakness (mean of 2.85) which is closely followed by the fact that teachers feel fatigue in a relatively short period of time (mean of 2.84).on the other hand, with a mean of 2.44, it’s clear that teachers respond to stress to a lesser extent by sleeping more than usual. The overall mean of fatigue manifestations is of 2.71 highly influenced by the fact that teachers respond to stress with physical exhaustion.

Table 9: Fatigue manifestations results

Number

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Variance

1

Respond to stress by sleeping more than usual.

370

2.44

1.316

1.732

2

Respond to stress by procrastinating.

370

2.49

1.224

1.497

3

Respond to stress by becoming fatigued in a very short time.

370

2.84

1.328

1.764

4

Respond to stress with physical exhaustion.

370

2.96

1.312

1.722

5

Respond to stress by physical weakness.

370

2.85

1.397

1.952

Valid N (list wise)

370

Over all mean

2.71

4.5.3 CARDIOVASCULAR MANIFESTATIONS

As shown in table 8 below, among the different cardiovascular manifestations statements that were set in the questionnaire, the teachers answered that they respond to stress with rapid and or shallow breathing to a greater extent (mean of 2.46) rather than responding with feelings of increased blood pressure(mean of 2.45) and feelings of heart pounding (mean of 2.44) .It can also be seen that they are no major differences in between the three manifestations which are close enough with each other in mean. The cardiovascular manifestations have an overall mean of 2.45.

Table 10: Cardiovascular manifestations results

Number

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Variance

1

Respond to stress with feelings of increased blood pressure.

370

2.45

1.365

1.863

2

Respond to stress with feelings of heart pounding or racing.

370

2.44

1.337

1.787

3

Respond to stress with rapid and/or shallow breathing.

370

2.46

1.339

1.794

Valid N (list wise)

370

Over all mean

2.45

4.5.4 GASTRONOMICAL MANIFESTATIONS

As it can be seen in table 9, with a mean of 2.71, it’s clear that teachers respond to stress with stomach acid at a higher extent as compared with the other manifestations. A few numbers of teachers also respond to stress with stomach cramps. (Mean of 2.36). Gastronomical manifestations have an overall mean of 2.52 influenced mostly by the fact that teachers respond to stress with stomach acid.

Table 11: Gastronomical manifestations results

Number

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Variance

1

Respond to stress by stomach pain of extended duration.

370

2.49

1.445

2.088

2

Respond to stress with stomach cramps.

370

2.36

1.468

2.155

3

Respond to stress with Stomach acid.

370

2.71

1.521

2.315

Valid N (list wise)

Over all mean

2.52

4.5.5 BEHAVIOURAL MANIFESTATIONS

With a mean of 2.49 which is the highest one as compared to other behavioral manifestations, it can be deduced that, teachers respond to stress by calling in sick to a greater extent. Teachers also use prescription drugs (mean of 2.14) and alcohol (mean of 2.15) to respond to the stress that they face. Another important point to note in table 10 is the fact that although a least extent, with a mean of 2.05, but teachers does also respond to stress by using over counter drugs. Behavioral manifestations have an overall mean of 2.20 which is mostly influenced by the fact that teachers respond to stress by calling in sick.

Table 12: Behavioral manifestations results

Number

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Variance

1

Respond to stress by using over counter drugs.

370

2.05

1.486

2.208

2

Respond to stress by using prescription drugs.

370

2.14

1.489

2.217

3

Respond to stress by using Alcohol.

370

2.15

1.616

2.613

4

Respond to stress by calling in sick.

370

2.49

1.596

2.549

Valid N (list wise)

370

Over all mean

2.20

4.6 MAJOR MANIFESTATION

Overall mean were calculated for the stress manifestations so as to know how teachers mostly manifest their stress. With a mean of 2.71, it is clear that fatigue manifestation is most common among the teachers followed by gastronomical manifestation with a mean of 2.52. It can also be deduced that teachers manifest stress on a least extent on their behaviour, with a mean of 2.20.

Table 13: overall mean of the manifestations

Number

manifestations

Over all mean

1

Emotional manifestations

2.51

2

Fatigue manifestations

2.71

3

Cardiovascular manifestations

2.45

4

Gastronomical manifestations

2.52

5

Behavioural manifestations

2.20

4.7 LEVEL OF OCCUPATIONAL STRESS OF THE TEACHERS.

In relation with the objective to know the level of occupational stress of the teachers of the secondary school in Mauritius, an overall mean of the entire dimension set in the questionnaire was done as shown in table 13. The overall mean obtained which is also the level of occupational stress of the teachers is of 2.71, in other words moderate level.

Table 14: level of occupational stress

Number

Mean

1

Time management

3.03

2

Work related stressors

2.91

3

Professional distress

2.98

4

Discipline and motivation

3.15

5

Professional investment

2.69

6

Emotional manifestations

2.51

7

Fatigue manifestations

2.71

8

Cardiovascular manifestations

2.45

9

Gastronomical manifestations

2.52

10

Behavioural manifestations

2.20

Over all mean /level of stress

2.71

5.0 DISCUSSION

The results obtained and explained in the previous chapter will be discussed in this section with references made to empirical findings.

The major factors causing stress as identified by the results obtained through the different dimensions will be discussed thus identifying the major factor first and then the dimension itself.

Among the questions asked in the time management dimension, it was found that teachers were most stressed when they had to waste time unnecessary. The latter agrees with the study of M.A.J and D.J.L (2003). Teachers agreed that sometime they are required to spend a lot of time which is unnecessary thus they are uncomfortable and stressed when wasting that time. Some teachers spend long hours at their specific school helping for extramural activities especially when they is a celebration at their school or an open day, or on more often occasions with teachers meetings with the management after hours or in between school hours. The latter consequently increase their work load which makes them more stress (Caroline, 2011).

Teachers were more stressed with the load of work that they had to do. Respondents major complaints were the fact that they had much more of students in their class as compared to before which made their task more complicated with all administrative work to be done and also the fact that all students were not at the same academic level so their load of work increases greatly. This corroborates with the study of Nurul et al (2010).

With regard to professional distress, the teachers who participated in the survey agreed that lack of recognition for the extra work or extra good teaching cause them more stress. Teachers are often asked to give remedial classes to students who need some extra support in their studies and most of the time, those remedial classes are in the second half of the lunch time. However, teachers complained that despite the fact that those remedial classes have been very helpful which made the students therein to pass with flying colours; there is no recognition for the extra good work made by them from the management. The latter highly stress those teachers and discourage them to make any such endeavour in the future! On the contrary, the study of M.A .J(2003) shown that inadequate salaries caused a great deal of stress to the teachers, this difference can be explained by two main reasons: first of all, in Mauritius, the salaries in the public and private sector for the teachers are equal, and secondly the fact that all teachers give private tuitions, so this compensate the idea of being stress due to inadequate salaries.

Participants expressed concerned about the fact that they are more frustrated due to some of the students who are poorly motivated. This result for a major stress for the teachers because after exams when the students fail to pass their exams, it’s the teachers who are blamed as well as they owe explanation to the students parent and to the management when the truth is that ,the students were poorly motivated to study.

Teachers want to contribute to the decision making of the management concerning studies or schools programmes by giving their own opinions. The fact that they are not given an opportunity to voice out their personal opinions on studies related decisions coming from the management, stress them most among the professional investment stressors which agrees with the study of M.A.J and D.J.L (2003) and Samuel (2011). Teachers are often asked to leave the decision matters to the management and not to voice out their personal opinions but only to abide by the decisions of the management however it should not be forgotten that the teachers are in a better position to know the exact requirement of the students concerning their studies, and their personal opinions in that context may help the students progress, the teachers being less stressed and the school progressing as well!

Among the different dimension that were present in the questionnaire circulated to the teachers, mean of each were calculated so as to know which dimension cause teachers to be stressed to a greater extent as compared to the other ones. In this study, it was found that the two major causes of stress was discipline and motivation (mean: 3.15) and time management (mean: 3.03). Discipline and motivation refers mainly to the fact of discipline problem in the class, teaching students who are poorly motivated or classroom discipline whereas time management refers to the fact of having little time to relax or uncomfortable wasting time among others. The two major stressors found in this study agree with the study done by Victoria (2009).

The different manifestations that were asked in this study were emotional manifestations, fatigue manifestations, cardiovascular manifestation, gastronomical manifestations and finally behavioral manifestations so as to know how the teachers who participated in the study responded to stress. On emotional manifestation level, the teachers manifest stress by feeling anxious, most teachers get anxious when they are have to deal with a particular stressor, the feeling of being anxious may have negative impact on their health as well such as increase in blood pressure. In Fatigue manifestations, the teachers agreed that they respond to stress mostly with physical exhaustion. Teachers that manifest stress in those ways may consequently be aggressive towards students or peers.

Responding to stress with rapid or shallow breathing is the most common one among the cardiovascular manifestations that was answered by the participants of this study, the latter can have various negative effects on the health of the teachers. Some worst cases are the fact when the teachers who respond to stress in this particular way already have a cardiovascular or respiratory disease such as asthma disease, then this may have devastating effect on their health (Brigitte, Silja and Roland, 2007).

It was found that teachers respond to stress with stomach acid among the gastronomical manifestations.

With regards to the behavioural manifestations, teachers responded to stress mostly by calling in sick. Teachers agreed that, they had to do this often in order to escape the load of stress that they have to face with the potential stressors as seen previously in this study. Calling in sick may have negative results on the performance of the students as they are missing out their class. In addition to that, when the teachers are absent one day, to escape the stress or to relieve their stress, it goes without saying that the load of work that they have to do increases, as the day for which they were absent work had to be catch up in a specific time limit which means that, both way, they would be stressed finally.

Fatigue and gastronomical manifestations are the most common stress manifestations reported by the teachers who participated in this study. The latter agrees partly with the studies done by Victoria (2009) and Rubina (2011) as their studies also shown that teachers manifest themselves mostly on a fatigue level which is mostly physical exhaustion; however they also found that another major manifestation was on an emotional level, this difference can be subjective and depend on each individual


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