American Intercontinental University

Project Description

I wish to survey a population of teachers in my school district to determine the incidence of those being treated for depression. I would then like to compare those numbers with the incidence of those being treated for depression in the general population.

Project Abstract

It is well known that teaching is a stressful occupation. The stressors upon teachers are varied and complex. The pressure of accountability, the possibility of classroom violence, long hours, and many tasks to perform all contribute to the stresses of being a professional educator. While it has been generally supposed that teachers have a higher incidence of depression; very little research exists to provide statistical evidence of this assumption. Most preliminary findings coming from England, Canada, and Europe indicate the veracity of the statement, but these findings are based on anecdotal accounts and observations of teachers seeking help.

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 teacher’s 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.

Surveys released for this project:
Teacher Health Survey 12
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