Occupational stress, psychological capital, happiness and turnover intentions among teachers.
The occupational field of teaching is under attack as it faces high turnover rates– ultimately resulting in a weakening of the educational system. The present study is rooted in Fredrickson‟s Broaden and Build theory and aimed to examine the relationship between occupational stress, psychological capital, happiness and turnover intentions among teachers. Studies have found that positive emotions (psychological capital or happiness) can alleviate turnover intentions among teachers. A quantitative research design was used to collect data. The study took the form of a cross sectional survey design with a random sample (N-140) of teachers from 7 different schools in the Durban, Kwazulu Natal region. The data was collected with the use of five questionnaires. These included a biographical questionnaire, Teacher Stress Inventory, Psychological Capital Questionnaire, Orientation to Happiness Scale and the Turnover Intention Scale. Data analysis included descriptive and inferential statistics which was conducted on the statistical program SPSS 18. The results were as follows: firstly, the teachers in this study reported general work stress (poor organisational management, role ambiguity and job satisfaction) and task stress to be the principle stressors in their occupational field. Secondly, the teachers in the present study reported experiencing positive emotions such as pleasure, meaning and engagement. Third, practically and statistically significant relationships were found between work related stress and task stress, PsyCap and pleasure and meaning, PsyCap and engagement, PsyCap and turnover intentions and between pleasure and meaning and engagement. From the above relationships, it can be seen that PsyCap promotes positive experiences in stressful occupational environments. Hence, the lack of PsyCap has the potential to exacerbate the experience of turnover intentions amongst teachers. Lastly, the results confirmed that psychological capital is a predictor of pleasure and meaning amongst teachers despite their stressful occupational field. Thus, the results showed that positive emotions and psychological capital may have the potential to alleviate turnover intentions amongst teachers. The present study is limited in the following ways: First, is the poor response rate (65%), thus reducing the sample size to 91. Second, this study used a cross-sectional research design as opposed to a longitudinal research design. Therefore, the results of this study cannot determine causality between the variables. Lastly, the data came from self-reported questionnaires, this can affect the reliability and validity of the data. As the participants may have answered the questions to reflect more socially acceptable responses. Although this study has limitations it acts as a starting point for research on the positive psychological perspective on the constructs occupational stress, PsyCap, happiness and turnover intentions. Specifically, future studies should focus on examining and developing hope optimism and self-efficacy amongst teachers as the present study found that the above three constructs of PsyCap contributed to positive emotions such as engagement amongst teachers. An improved understanding of the above constructs is a step toward alleviating turnover intentions amongst teachers and possibly other occupational fields.