Objectives: With major changes in the education system and limited resources supplied by the Government, Chinese teachers have been suffering from greater occupational stress in recent years, which is believed to affect their physical and mental health. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between quality of life and occupational stress in primary and middle school teachers. Study design: Originals. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using cluster sampling. The study population was composed of 3570 school teachers working in 64 primary and middle schools in Heping District in Shenyang, China. A demographic questionnaire, the 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the Occupational Stress Inventory Revised Edition were employed to collect demographic variables and assess quality of life and occupational stress. Multivariate stepwise linear regression analyses were performed to study the relationship between quality of life and occupational stress. Results: The mean scores for both male and female teachers in this study were significantly lower than those for the Chinese general population for all dimensions of quality of life, except mental health and vitality (P < 0.05). Male teachers scored significantly higher than female teachers for physical functioning, bodily pain, vitality and physical health (P < 0.05). Age, role overload, role insufficiency, vocational strain, psychological strain, physical strain, recreation and rational coping were significantly associated with both the physical and mental component summaries of the SF-36 (P < 0.05). Gender, physical environment and self-care appeared to be robust indicators of physical health (P < 0.05), while role insufficiency, interpersonal strain and social support were strong indicators of mental health (P < 0.05). Conclusions: In China, teachers have a lower health status than the general population. The quality of life of female teachers is worse than that of male teachers, and deteriorates with age. Occupational stress and strain induce worsening physical and mental conditions for teachers, while coping resources could promote their health. This study suggests that having adequate coping resources, especially social support, in workplaces may be an important factor for improving teachers' quality of life. Moreover, psychological interventions should be set up for teachers, and psychological counselling should be provided to relieve stress and enhance quality of life.
- Occupational stress
- Primary and middle school teachers
- Quality of life
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health