This research is intended to compare existing data with estimates of depression rates in the general public. The questions we shall attempt to answer are, Are there indications that teachers suffer a higher rate of depression than the general population? and, if the first question is answered in the positive, Should more research be done to determine a causal effect for this discrepancy?
There is a paucity of literature regarding depression in teachers. Most work in educational literature deals with depression in the students. There is however, some good initial information out there.Nash (2000) reports the high incidence of teachers using a helpline showing signs of depression or admission of treatment of depression. This report was compiled by breaking down subject matter discussed on teacher initiated phone calls to a service line intended for educators working in Brittan and Wales. The report also outlines the connection between stress and depression although it uses the incidence of depression in teachers as evidence of job stress levels.Killian (1997) provides a secondary source reporting that the incidence of depression in Canadian teachers could be as much as three times the incidence in the general population. He compares the number of teachers on extended sick leave who cite depression as their illness with other professions. The article then gives anecdotal information about the increasing demands on teachers energy. D Jurado, M Gurpegui, O Moreno and J de Dios Luna (1997) give us quantitative research that indicated over 25% of teachers in a representative population scored high enough on a rating scale for depression to be classified as depressed.
My hypothesis is that the incidence of depression in a small sample of American teachers will be similar to the incidence suggested by these other studies.