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Stress and coping in teachers exposed to violent and aggressive student behaviour

Frith, JJ 2010 , 'Stress and coping in teachers exposed to violent and aggressive student behaviour', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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LITERATURE REVIEW This paper reviews the literature on occupational stress. The review commences
with a consideration of the key terms used in the occupational stress literature. This
is followed by a discussion about the historical context of stress theories. Three
models of work stress that have played a dominant role in occupational stress
research in the past three decades are outlined. A general perspective on stress which
also can be applied to the occupational stress context is then presented.
A range of sources of occupational stress and research pertaining to these are
reviewed. Specifically, physical environmental and psychosocial risk factors, along
with the individual difference variables that make an individual more or less likely to
develop work place stress are discussed.
This is followed by a discussion about aggressive and violent behavior in the
work place. The key constructs of workplace violence and aggression are defined.
Additionally, the negative consequences of exposure to workplace aggression and
violence at the individual, organizational and societal level are discussed. The
review concludes with a summary of the key points and identifies a gap in existing
occupational stress research. It is noted that despite the large body of research that
exists in relation to occupational stress and teachers' experience of workplace stress,
there has been little research into the impact of student aggression and violence
against teachers. EMPIRICAL STUDY Using Berry's (1998) general perspective on stress as a guiding framework, this
study investigated the psychophysiological and psychological responses of
Australian public school teachers to violent/aggressive student behaviour, using
personalized staged guided imagery. Teacher coping strategies and resources for
dealing with their exposure to violent/aggressive student behaviour were also
investigated. Heart rate measurements and psychological ratings were obtained
during guided imagery of a violent/aggressive work event, stressful but nonviolent/aggressive
work event and a neutral event from 23 teachers. Forty teachers
completed questionnaires on coping strategies and coping resources. Heart rate
responses of teachers did not differ significantly between the violent/aggressive
event, the stressful event, and the neutral event. Also, teachers who reported high
levels of stress did not experience greater arousal levels than teachers who reported
low levels of stress. Imagery of the violent/aggressive work event did elicit more
negative psychological responses than the stressful event and the neutral event.
Also, significantly more anger, anxiety, and fear, and less control were reported
during the incident and consequence stages of the violent/aggressive event. Thus,
the current study identifies some of the negative psychological responses that can
ensue for teachers exposed to violent/aggressive student behavior. Limitations and
methodological issues are discussed and directions for future research are suggested.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Frith, JJ
Keywords: Teachers, Teaching, Job stress
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2010 the Author

Additional Information:

Thesis (MPsych(Clin))--University of Tasmania, 2010. Includes bibliographical references. Introduction and overview -- The meaning of stress -- Theories of occupational stress -- Sources of occupational stress -- Aggression and violence in the workplace -- Summary and conclusions.

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