Predictors of mental health in female teachers
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Institute and Clinic of Occupational and Social Medicine, Technical University of Dresden, Dresden, Germany
Institute and Clinic of Occupational and Social Medicine, Technical University of Dresden, Fetscherstrasse 74, D-01307, Dresden, Germany
Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2013;26(6):856-69
Objective: Teaching profession is characterised by an above-average rate of psychosomatic and mental health impairment due to work-related stress. The aim of the study was to identify predictors of mental health in female teachers. Material and Methods: A sample of 630 female teachers (average age 47±7 years) participated in a screening diagnostic inventory. Mental health was surveyed with the General Health Questionnaire GHQ-12. The following parameters were measured: specific work conditions (teacher-specific occupational history), scales of the Effort-Reward-Imbalance (ERI) Questionnaire as well as cardiovascular risk factors, physical complaints (BFB) and personal factors such as inability to recover (FABA), sense of coherence (SOC) and health behaviour. Results: First, mentally fit (MH+) and mentally impaired teachers (MH) were differentiated based on the GHQ-12 sum score (MH+: < 5; MH: ≥ 5); 18% of the teachers showed evidence of mental impairment. There were no differences concerning work-related and cardiovascular risk factors as well as health behaviour between MH+ and MH. Binary logistic regressions identified 4 predictors that showed a significant effect on mental health. The effort-reward-ratio proved to be the most relevant predictor, while physical complaints as well as inability to recover and sense of coherence were identified as advanced predictors (explanation of variance: 23%). Conclusion: Contrary to the expectations, classic work-related factors can hardly contribute to the explanation of mental health. Additionally, cardiovascular risk factors and health behaviour have no relevant influence. However, effort-reward-ratio, physical complaints and personal factors are of considerable influence on mental health in teachers. These relevant predictors should become a part of preventive arrangements for the conservation of teachers' health in the future.
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