Using Longitudinal and Momentary Analysis to Study the Impact of Middle School Teachers' Stress on Teacher Effectiveness, Student Behavior and Achievement
Co-Principal Investigators: Scott McIntyre (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Paras Mehta, David Francis, Angelia Durand and Pat Taylor (Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics and Department of Psychology, University of Houston)
Purpose: Teaching is a highly stressful occupation. Teacher stress may influence how effective teachers are in the classroom, with potential consequences for their students' behavior and learning. The research team intends to identify predictors and outcomes of job stress in middle school teachers, linking teacher stress to student behavior and achievement via teacher effectiveness. Using a prospective multi-method, multi-time scale investigation of the proposed mediational chain (i.e., stressors lead to teacher stress response which lead to teacher work and health stress outcomes which lead to teacher effectiveness which lead to student behavioral and academic outcomes), the project will provide empirical evidence regarding malleable teacher factors. These factors can then be used to guide future development of interventions to mitigate teacher stress and consequently improve teacher effectiveness and student behavior and learning.
Project Activities: This longitudinal study will follow 160 seventh- and eighth-grade social studies, science or math teachers over 3 years. Data will be collected on teachers through standardized self-report questionnaires, ecological momentary assessment (which includes a teacher stress diary), concurrent physiological measurements (e.g., blood pressure), and observational ratings. Data will be collected on students in these teachers' classrooms using teacher stress diaries, archival school records, and observational ratings. Using new statistical techniques developed by Mehta in a currently funded IES project (http://ies.ed.gov/funding/grantsearch/details.asp?ID=763) to analyze intensive longitudinal data, multivariate and Semi-Parametric Mixed-Effects Models (SPMEM) will be used to capture differences in stress responses between and within teachers over time across four time scales (hourly, daily, within year, and across years). Cross-sectional and longitudinal mediational hypotheses will be tested via Latent Difference Score (LDS) models linking teacher stressors to teacher effectiveness and student academic and behavioral outcomes.
Products: The products of this study include information about malleable teacher factors such as job stressors, emotional state (affect), health, work attitudes and classroom behavior that may impact student behavioral and academic outcomes. These results can inform the development and testing of interventions to promote student behavior and achievement by promoting teacher wellness and effectiveness.
Setting: The research is being conducted in 20 middle schools in a large urban school district in Texas.
Population: Approximately 160 teachers of seventh and eighth grade social studies, science or math classes and their students will participate.
Research Design and Methods: This longitudinal exploratory study will follow teachers over 3 years with data collected on teachers and their current students at 5 time points: the beginning of the school year in Years 1 and 2 and toward the end of the school year in Years 1, 2 and 3. Data will be collected through self-report, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) over 3 consecutive work-days, archival records of student academic achievement, and observational ratings of student behavior and teacher effectiveness in the classroom. An additional 1-day EMA will be conducted at high stress times (e.g., before state testing periods) in Years 1 and 2, yielding a total of 7 waves of EMA data collected for each teacher. Physiological measurements (e.g., blood pressure) will be gathered on a random subsample of teachers on the same schedule as the EMA assessments. Observational data will be gathered in a random subsample of teacher class periods, over 2 consecutive days, concurrent with each 3-day EMA assessment.
Key Measures: The study will use multi-method measures of teacher stressors and stress responses and student behavior and academic achievement. A variety of standardized self-report questionnaires (e.g., the Neuroticism scale from the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, and the Leiden Quality of Work Questionnaire) will be administered to teachers to assess stressors and stress responses. The ecological momentary assessment (EMA) protocol includes a Teacher Stress Diary that asks teachers to record job strain, emotional response, cognitive functioning, incidents of social conflict, perceptions of own effectiveness and student behavior, and concurrent physiological measures of blood pressure and ambulatory heart rate. Observational data will be gathered on teacher effectiveness using the Texas Teacher Appraisal System and ratings of student behavior (e.g., disciplinary problems, disengagement). Archival data on student achievement include the Common Assessments administered in Texas every 9 weeks, the Stanford 10 Achievement Test, and the state end-of-year standardized assessment.
Data Analytic Strategy: Novel multivariate and semi-parametric mixed-effects models (Mehta, 2009, R305D090024, http://ies.ed.gov/funding/grantsearch/details.asp?ID=763) will be used to capture within- and between-teacher variability in EMA data across four time-scales (hourly, daily, multiple waves within- and across years). Cross-sectional and longitudinal mediational hypotheses will be tested using LDS models linking teacher stressors to teacher effectiveness and student outcomes. Covariates include contextual variables (e.g. school characteristics), and individual and professional characteristics of the teacher.
McIntyre, T., McIntyre, S., and Francis, D. (Eds.) (2017). Educator Stress: An Occupational Health Perspective. Springer International Publishing.
Francis, D., Barr, C., Benoit, J., and McIntyre, T. (2017). Issues in Research Methodology on Educator Stress. In T. McIntyre, S. McIntyre and D. Francis (Eds.). Educator Stress: An Occupational Health Perspective (pp. 485–505). Springer International Publishing.
McIntyre, T., McIntyre, S., and Francis, D. (2017). Implications of an Occupational Health Perspective to Education Research and Practice: Bringing Educator Stress to the Forefront. In T. McIntyre, S. McIntyre and D. Francis (Eds.). Educator Stress: An Occupational Health Perspective (pp. 439–470). Springer International Publishing.
McIntyre, T., McIntyre, S., Barr, C., and Francis, D. (2017). Towards an Integrative Theory of Educator Stress. In T. McIntyre, S. McIntyre and D. Francis (Eds.). Educator Stress: An Occupational Health Perspective (pp. 261–289). Springer International Publishing.
Journal article, monograph, or newsletter
McIntyre, T., McIntyre, S., Barr, C., S. Woodward, Francis, D., Durand, A., Mehta, P., and Kamarck, T. (2015). Assessment to Study Teacher Stress: Objective and Self-Reported Measures. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 21(4): 403–414.