Work stress in relation to occupational health and job satisfaction was studied in order to search for solutions to the improvement of teachers' workplace wellbeing. This empirical study examined if or what type of physical activities were related to perceived health, work stress, and job satisfaction (Bogaert et al., 2014). Bogaert et al. (2014) used a representative sample of 1,066 secondary school teachers (average age 40 years; 68 percent female) from 105 randomly selected Flemish schools to conduct an online survey in Belgium.
Teachers' perceived health status was measured by Short-form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) which had been proven to be a simple and valid instrument for measuring the generic health status of clinical and non-clinical populations. Teachers' occupational stress and job satisfaction were measured using the Psychosocial Aspects at Work (PAW) questionnaire, which was a simple 15-item instrument to evaluate employees’ attitudes towards specific aspects at work on a five-point Likert scale. Teachers’ physical activities and sitting time were measured by the long-form International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) which had served as a valid and reliable instrument in several international studies (Bogaert et al., 2014). This study discovered that secondary school teachers had higher job stress and poorer perceived mental and physical health than the general healthy population.
The study also demonstrated gender difference and the effect of occupational physical activities on job stress. Particularly, female teachers reported lower perceived health, more occupational stress, and more absent days compared to their male colleagues (Bogaert et al., 2014). The correlational analysis revealed that occupational physical activities were significantly associated with poorer perceived health among secondary school teachers. These occupational physical activities included long hours of standing, overhead writing, and prolonged sitting with a static posture when reviewing student work and preparing lesson plans.
This finding suggested that occupational activities on teaching jobs might aggravate several mental and physical workplace-related problems. On the other hand, leisure-time physical activities were associated with more positive perceived mental, physical, and work-related health among secondary school teachers (Bogaert et al., 2014). Furthermore, Bogaert et al. identified significant interrelations among teachers’ mental, physical, and work-related health aspects (job stress, job satisfaction, and absenteeism). The interrelations suggested that the improvement of one component of teachers’ health might indirectly improve the other components (Bogaert et al., 2014).
A limitation of this study was the lack of measurement in teachers’ job-specific stress in multiple job demand and resource dimensions. The use of PAW limited the research to generally perceived stress only. Thus, it was impossible to examine teaching-specific stressors and manifestations. This research gap was addressed in this dissertation research.
Bogaert, I., De Martelaer, K., Deforche, B., Clarys, P., & Zinzen, E. (2014). Associations between different types of physical activity and teachers’ perceived mental, physical, and work-related health. BMC Public Health, 14(1), 1492-1511. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-534