Cumulative Stressors for Michigan Public School Teachers

Principal Investigator: Mozhgon Rajaee, PhD, MPH, MS, Assistant Professor, School of Health Sciences, Oakland University


School teachers experience tremendous work-related stress, which can lead to missed work days, lower quality of life, and rapid turnover in their jobs. This study examined stress-related factors and health among K-12 Michigan public school teachers. School districts were intentionally from low and-high resource and income areas to better assess how resource availability may impact teacher stress.Fifty-nine teachers from four school districts participated in the study. One school district was from a high-resource area and three were from low-resource school districts. Compared to teachers at high-resource school districts, teachers at low-resource school districts were less likely to report very good or excellent health, more likely to have high blood pressure, and more likely to feel nervous or stressed often.

One urban school districts playground

Teachers experience significant stress related to job security, disruptive students, lack of support and positive feedback, and poor work-life balance, especially those at low-resource school districts. Understanding the key drivers of work-related stress can help to identify ways to reduce teacher stress, improve quality of life, reduce sick days, and provide healthier spaces for students to succeed. Targeted interventions can help to reduce stress for teachers through programmatic and policy changes. Providing healthier work environments will make local school districts and states more attractive and competitive to retain well-trained and new teachers.

Project Abstract