Jobs stress is part and parcel of everyday life.
After 17 years of researching traumatic stress with war-afflicted populations (veterans and civilians) and job stress in the medical profession, Teresa McIntyre, a research professor in the department of psychology and the Texas Institute for Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics (TIMES), at the University of Houston (UH), decided to study another high risk occupation, middle school teachers in seventh and eighth grade.
"Teaching is a highly stressful occupation," McIntyre said. "Teacher stress affects various aspects of teacher health and may influence how effective teachers are in the classroom, with potential consequences for their students' behavior and learning.
"I started to research the literature on stress and teachers in the U.S. and found very little information. There was no comprehensive study of teachers' stress or even an audit of the percentage of teachers who are stressed. I saw a void here and a need to study."
McIntyre serves as primary investigator for a $1.6 million grant funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education, titled, "Using Longitudinal and Momentary Analysis to Study the Impact of Middle School Teachers' Stress on Teacher Effectiveness, Student Behavior and Achievement."
The research study starts at the beginning of this coming school year and follows 200 seventh-and eighth-grade social studies, science or math teachers in 20 middle schools in H.I.S.D. and thousands of students over a three-year period. The research team intends to identify predictors and outcomes of job stress in middle school teachers, linking teacher stress to student behavior and achievement via teacher effectiveness. The results of the data can be used to guide further development of interventions to mitigate teacher stress and, consequently, improve teacher effectiveness and student behavior and learning.