Department of Psychology, Lund University, Sweden
Background. In Sweden, teachers are subject to high turnover, unfavorable working conditions, and high incidence of stress-related disorders. The aim of the present study was to (a) assess teachers’ perceptions of work-related health and working conditions, (b) examine the relationship among several key characteristics in teachers’ work environment, and (c) examine the importance for well-being of job satisfaction, separation between work and spare time,and recovery from work.
Design. Primary and lower secondary school teachers in Sweden were invited to participate in a questionnaire study assessing five central aspects of health (subjective well-being, physical activity, self-rated health, sleep quality, and health complaints). Building on previous research, the effect of job satisfaction on well-being as well as on health complaints was tested using a mediation model with separation between work and spare time, and recovery from work, as mediators.
Results. Of the respondents, 40.2% scored below the cut-off recommended in the screening for depression, 43.8% qualifiedas leading a sedentary lifestyle, and 33.7% reported insufficient recovery from work. Sixty-one percentreported one or more sleep problems indicative of insomnia. Well-being correlated highly with self-rated health, health complaints, and separation between work and spare time. There is moderate support for the two models used to analyze the associations between job satisfaction and the outcome variables – well-being and health complaints – as both separation between work and spare time, and recovery from work, partially mediate the associations.
Conclusion. The results confirm recent research pointing to the teaching profession as a vulnerable occupational group. Especially disconcerting and relevant for teachers in Sweden are results indicative of problems with recovery from work and insufficient separation between work and spare time.
Keywords: health complaints; job satisfaction; recovery from work; self-rated health; separation between work and spare time; Sweden; teachers; WHO-5