The relationship between wellbeing indicators and teacher psychological stress in Eastern Cape public schools in South Africa
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Positive psychological and subjective wellbeing indicators have proven to be protective against certain physical illnesses but have been rarely assessed in teacher stress. The main objective of this study was to assess the relationship between indicators of wellbeing and stress and to further assess the relative importance of these wellbeing indicators in explaining stress variance in a large sample of Eastern Cape primary and high school teachers in South Africa. The majority of teacher stress studies focus on the misfit between the individual's resources and the environmental demands. There is a scarcity of studies reporting on protective factors in teaching and we know little about their possible role as possible protective factors against stress. This is important in developing stress prevention strategies. A cross-sectional survey was used targeting public school teachers in the Eastern Cape. The sample size was 562 randomly selected teachers from both public primary and high schools. The results revealed that stress is prevalent amongst teachers. Subjective and psychological wellbeing factors added significantly to the explained stress variance. Also, both negative affect and role problems had significant positive correlations with stress, whilst psychological wellbeing had a strong inverse relationship with stress. The results implied that interventions focusing on improving psychological wellbeing and reduction of negative affect can contribute to stress prevention. The results contributed towards a better understanding of the relative importance of wellbeing constructs as protective factors against teacher stress.