Advertisement

Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 53–70 | Cite as

Perceived Stress and Canadian Early Childcare Educators

  • Shannon L. Wagner
  • Barry Forer
  • Ivan L. Cepeda
  • Hillel Goelman
  • Stefania Maggi
  • Amedeo D’Angiulli
  • Julie Wessel
  • Clyde Hertzman
  • Ruth E. Grunau
Original Paper

Abstract

Background

Occupational stress for early childcare educators is an area of apparent understudy in the literature. The present study attempted to address this gap and provide some updated data regarding the experiences of this occupational group.

Methods

Early childhood workers across a variety of early childhood education settings (N = 69) responded to questionnaires regarding perceived stress, individual/educational background, and work setting (Perceived Stress Scale, You Bet I Care!, and Ways of Coping Questionnaires).

Findings

Our findings suggest that early childhood educators who were married, had a stable community, and had no children of their own felt less perceived stress. Further, workers who utilized problem-solving coping, felt job security, and experienced higher job satisfaction and control, reported less perceived stress. In contrast, individuals who employed avoidant coping, worked full-time, and expressed feelings of exhaustion and/or frustration, felt greater amounts of stress.

Conclusions

These findings are reviewed in the context of workplace interventions that may be considered useful toward increasing recruitment and retention of quality early childhood educators through decreased perceived stress.

Keywords

Early childhood educator Occupational stress Coping Burnout Attrition 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge the participation of the early childhood educators and funding contributions from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant CID/NIC 169809 to REG and the Human Early Learning Partnership to REG. The views expressed in this paper are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Human Early Learning Partnership.

References

  1. Baumgartner, J. J., Carson, R. L., Apavaloaie, L., & Tsouloupas, C. (2009). Uncovering common stressful factors and coping strategies among childcare providers. Child & Youth Care Forum, 38, 239–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boyd, B. J., & Schneider, N. I. (1997). Perceptions of the work environment and burnout in Canadian child care providers. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 11(2), 171–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carver, C. S., Scheir, M. F., & Weintraub, J. K. (1989). Assessing coping strategies: A theoretically based approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 267–283.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Caulfield, R., & Kataoka-Yahiro, M. (2001). Health training needs of child care professionals. Early Childhood Education Journal, 29(2), 119–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cohen, S., & Williamson, G. (1988). Perceived stress in a probability sample of the United States. In S. Spacapan & S. Oskamp (Eds.), The social psychology of health: Claremont symposium on applied social psychology (pp. 31–67). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Doherty, G., Lero, D., Goelman, H., LaGrange, A., & Tougas, J. (1999). You Bet I Care! A Canada-wide study on wages working conditions, and practices in child care centres. Guelph: University of Guelph Centre for Families, Work and Well-Being.Google Scholar
  7. Eastwood, C. H., & Ecklund, K. (2008). Compassion fatigue risk and self-care practices among residential treatment center childcare workers. Residential Treatment for Children and Youth, 25(2), 103–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Endler, N. S., & Parker, J. (1990). Multidimensional assessment of coping: A critical evaluation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 844–855.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Evans, G. D., Bryant, N. E., Owens, J. S., & Koukos, K. (2004). Ethnic differences in burnout, coping, and intervention acceptability among childcare professionals. Child & Youth Care Forum, 33(5), 349–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Folkman, S., & Lazarus, R. S. (1985). If it changes it must be a process: Study of emotion and coping during three stages of the college examination. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 150–170.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Folkman, S., & Lazarus, R. S. (1988). Manual for the ways of coping questionnaire. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  12. Fuqua, R., & Couture, K. (1986). Burnout and locus of control in child day care staff. Child Care Quarterly, 15(2), 98–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Goelman, H. (2000). Training, quality and the lived experience of child care. In G. Cleaveland & M. Krashinsky (Eds.), Our children’s future: Child care policy in Canada (pp. 142–168). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  14. Goelman, H., & Guo, H. (1998). What we know and what we don’t know about burnout among early childhood care providers. Child & Youth Care Forum, 27(3), 175–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goelman, H., Shapiro, E., & Pence, A. R. (1990). Family environment and family day care. Family Relations, 39(1), 14–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jaccard, J., & Guilamo-Ramos, V. (2002). Analysis of variance frameworks in clinical child and adolescent psychology: Issues and recommendations. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 31(1), 130–146.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Karasek, R. A. (1979). Job demands, job decision latitude, and mental strain: Implication for job redesign. Administration Science Quarterly, 24, 285–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Karasek, R. A., & Theorell, T. (1990). A comparison of men’s and women’s jobs. Healthy work: Stress, productivity, and the reconstruction of working life (pp. 44–45). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  19. Kelloway, E. K., & Day, A. L. (2005). Building Healthy Workplaces: What we know so far. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Sciences, 37(4), 223–235.Google Scholar
  20. Kieffer, K. M., & MacDonald, G. (2011). Exploring factors that affect score reliability and variability in the ways of coping questionnaire reliability coefficients: A meta-analytic reliability generalization study. Journal of Individual Differences, 32(1), 26–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Loretto, W., Popham, F., Platt, S., Pavis, S., Hardy, G., MacLeod, L., et al. (2005). Assessing psychological well-being: A holistic investigation of NHS employees. International Review of Psychiatry, 17(5), 329–336.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Manlove, E. E. (1993). Multiple correlates of burnout in child care workers. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 8(4), 499–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Manlove, E. E. (1994). Conflict and ambiguity over work roles: The impact on child care worker burnout. Early Education and Development, 5(1), 41–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mann-Feder, V., & Savicki, V. (2003). Burnout in anglophone and francophone child and youth workers in Canada: A cross-cultural comparison. Child & Youth Care Forum, 32(6), 337–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Maslach, C., & Pines, A. (1977). The burn-out syndrome in the day care setting. Child Care Quarterly, 6(2), 100–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mitchell, A. M., Crane, P. A., & Kim, Y. (2008). Perceived stress in survivors of suicide: Psychometric properties of the perceived stress scale. Research in Nursing & Health, 31, 576–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Polanyi, M., & Tompa, E. (2004). Rethinking work—Health models for the new global economy: A qualitative analysis of emerging dimensions of work. Work, 23, 3–18.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Seti, C. L. (2008). Causes and treatment of burnout in residential child care workers: A review of the research. Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 24(3), 197–229. doi: 10.1080/08865710802111972.
  29. Siegrist, J. (1996). Adverse health effects of high-effort/low-reward conditions. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 1, 27–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Siegrist, J. (1998). Adverse health effects of effort-reward imbalance at work: Theory, and purple support, and implications for prevention. In C. L. Cooper (Ed.), Theories of organizational stress (pp. 190–204). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Stremmel, A. J. (1991). Predictors of intention to leave child care work. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 6, 285–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stremmel, A. J., Benson, M. J., & Powell, D. R. (1993). Communication, satisfaction, and emotional exhaustion among child care center staff: Directors, teachers, and assistant teachers. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 8(2), 221–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Thornburg, K. R., Townley, K., & Crompton, D. (1998). Competence and burnout in family child care providers. Early Child Development and Care, 141, 61–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Todd, C. M., & Deery-Schmitt, D. (1996). Factors affecting turnover among family child care providers: A longitudinal study. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 11(3), 351–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shannon L. Wagner
    • 1
  • Barry Forer
    • 2
  • Ivan L. Cepeda
    • 2
  • Hillel Goelman
    • 2
  • Stefania Maggi
    • 3
  • Amedeo D’Angiulli
    • 3
  • Julie Wessel
    • 4
  • Clyde Hertzman
    • 2
  • Ruth E. Grunau
    • 2
  1. 1.Health Sciences ProgramUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada
  2. 2.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  4. 4.University of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada

Personalised recommendations