Stress levels among government secondary school teachers in a semirural area of KwaZulu-Natal.
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There is little or no information regarding stress levels among teachers in semi-rural government secondary schools in South Africa. Furthermore, findings regarding the relationship between gender, age and teaching experience and teacher stress appear to be equivocal. The present study aims to examine the levels of stress among a group of semirural secondary school teachers, and whether there is a relationship between stress levels and gender, age, teaching experience and medical/psychiatric treatment. The researcher employed a survey using the Professional Life Stress Scale (PLSS) to assess teachers' stress levels. The demographic checklist consisted of the following items: gender, age, length of service in the teaching profession, psychiatric or medical treatment during the previous 3 months. Participants included 102 teachers, 38 of whom were males and 64 were female, from 9 selected government schools in the Durban semirural area. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the sample. T-tests were used to determine the relationship between gender and total stress scores, as well as to determine gender differences on individual items on the PLSS. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to determine the relationship between age and teaching experience and total stress scores. Chi squares were used to determine whether there was a relationship between gender and category of stress. In addition, reasons for obtaining medical/psychiatric services were examined. The research findings indicate that these secondary teachers are experiencing high levels of stress and that gender, age, teaching experience have no significant effect on their levels of stress. In addition, few participants seek psychological and medical services and most participants report psychosomatic symptoms.