Caring for the Caregiver: Promoting the Resilience of Teachers

  • Jennifer L. Fleming
  • Mary Mackrain
  • Paul A. LeBuffe


Social and emotional competence is a critical factor in children’s development and school readiness. According to the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2003), one in every five children has social and emotional or mental health concerns. An estimated two-thirds of all young people with concerns are not getting the help they need (Mental Health America, 2011). These concerns, if left unaddressed, predict school failure and more serious mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and conduct disorders which are expensive and difficult to treat (Raver & Knitzer, 2002). Social and emotional competence has been defined as “the ability of children to successfully interact with other children and adults in a way that demonstrates an awareness of, and ability to manage, emotions in an age- and context-appropriate manner” (LeBuffe, Shapiro, & Naglieri, 2009, p. 5).


Emotional Exhaustion Emotional Competence Teacher Stress Teacher Turnover Resilient Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act of 2011, H.R. 2437, 112th Cong. (2011). Retrieved September 6, 2011, from­bill=h112-2437.
  2. Alliance for Excellent Education. (2005, August). Teacher attrition: A costly loss to the nation and to the states (Issue brief). Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved February 25, 2011, from
  3. American Psychological Association. (2010). Stress in America report. Retrieved September 6, 2011, from
  4. Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  5. Bauer, J., Stamm, A., Virnich, K., Wissing, K., Mueller, U., Wirsching, M., et al. (2006). Correlation between burnout syndrome and psychological and psychosomatic symptoms among teachers. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 79, 199–204.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Belsky, J., Vandell, D. L., Burchinal, M., Clarke-Stewart, K. A., McCartney, K., & Owen, M. T. (2007). Are there long-term effects of early child care? Child Development, 78, 681–701.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Betoret, F. D. (2009). Self-efficacy, school resources, job stressors and burnout among Spanish primary and secondary school teachers: A structural equation approach. Educational Psychology, 29, 45–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Biglan, A. (2008, Fall). Teacher stress and collegiality: Overlooked factors in the effort to promote evidence-based practices. Association for Behavior Analysis International Newsletter, 31(3). Retrieved February 25, 2011, from
  9. Brackett, M. A., & Caruso, D. R. (2006). The emotionally intelligent teacher. Ann Arbor, MI: Quest Education.Google Scholar
  10. Brackett, M. A., & Katulak, N. A. (2006). Emotional intelligence in the classroom: Skill-based training for teachers and students. In J. Ciarrochi & J. D. Mayer (Eds.), Applying emotional intelligence: A practitioner’s guide (pp. 1–27). New York, NY: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bredekamp, V. S., & Copple, C. (Eds.). (1997). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs. Washington, DC: NAEYC.Google Scholar
  12. Brunetti, G. J. (2006). Resilience under fire: Perspectives on the work of experienced, inner city high school teachers in the United States. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22, 812–825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Burke, R., Greenglass, E., & Schwarzer, R. (1996). Predicting teacher burnout over time: Effects of work stress, social support, and self-doubts on burnout and its consequences. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 9, 261–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Burton, N. W., Pakenham, K. I., & Brown, W. J. (2010). Feasibility and effectiveness of psychosocial resilience training: A pilot study of the READY program. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 15, 266–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Castro, A. J., Kelly, J., & Shih, M. (2010). Resilience strategies for new teachers in high-needs areas. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 622–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Center for the Child Care Workforce. (2004, June). Current data on the salaries and benefits of the U.S. early childhood education workforce. Retrieved February 25, 2011, from
  17. Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. (2011). SEL in your state. Retrieved September 6, from 2011,
  18. Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (1999). Initial impact of the FAST Track prevention trial for conduct problems: II. Classroom effects. Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, 67, 648–657.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Connor, K. M., & Davidson, J. R. (2003). Development of a new resilience scale: The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). Depression and Anxiety, 18, 76–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Shellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82, 405–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R. A., Carlo, G., & Karbon, M. (1992). Emotional responsivity to others: Behavioral correlates and socialization antecedents. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 55, 57–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R. A., Schaller, M., Carlo, G., & Miller, P. A. (1991). The relations of parental characteristics and practices to children’s vicarious emotional responding. Child Development, 62, 1393–1408.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fabes, R. A., Eisenberg, N., & Miller, P. A. (1990). Maternal correlates of children’s vicarious emotional responsiveness. Developmental Psychology, 26, 639–648.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Greenberg, M. T., Weissberg, R. P., O’Brien, M. U., Zins, J. E., Fredericks, L., Resnik, H., et al. (2003). Enhancing school-based prevention and youth development through coordinated social, emotional, and academic learning. The American Psychologist, 58, 466–474.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Guglielmi, R. S., & Tatrow, K. (1998). Occupational stress, burnout and health in teachers: A methodological and theoretical analysis. Review of Educational Research, 68, 61–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hammond, O. W., & Onikama, D. L. (1997). At risk teachers. Honolulu, HI: Pacific Resources for Education and Learning.Google Scholar
  27. Hamre, B. K., & Pianta, R. C. (2004). Self-reported depression in nonfamilial caregivers: Prevalence and associations with caregiver behavior in child-care settings. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 19, 297–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Helburn, S. W. (1995). Cost, quality and child outcomes in child care centers (Technical report). Denver, CO: Department of Economics, Center for Research in Economic and Social Policy, University of Colorado at Denver.Google Scholar
  29. Howard, S., & Johnson, B. (2004). Resilient teachers: Resisting stress and burnout. Social Psychology of Education, 7, 399–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Howes, C., & Hamilton, C. (1993). The changing experience of child care: Changes in teachers and in teacher-child relationships and children’s social competence with peers. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 8, 15–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jenkins, S., & Calhoun, J. F. (1991). Teacher stress: Issues and intervention. Psychology in the Schools, 28, 60–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jennings, P. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2009). The prosocial classroom: Teacher social and emotional competence in relation to students and classroom outcomes. Review of Educational Research, 79, 491–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jurado, D., Gurpegui, M., Moreno, O., & de Dios, L. J. (1998). School setting and teaching experience as risk factors for depressive symptoms in teachers. European Psychiatry, 13, 78–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Keigher, A. (2010). Teacher attrition and mobility: Results from the 2008–09 teacher follow-up survey (NCES 2010-353). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved February 25, 2011, from
  35. Kyriacou, C. (2001). Teacher stress: Directions for future research. Educational Review, 53, 27–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lambert, R. G., McCarthy, C., O’Donnell, M., & Wang, C. (2009). Measuring elementary teacher stress and coping in the classroom: Validity evidence for the classroom appraisal of resources and demands. Psychology in the Schools, 46, 973–988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. LeBuffe, P. A., Shapiro, V. B., & Naglieri, J. A. (2009). The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA), technical manual, and user’s guide. Lewisville, NC: Kaplan.Google Scholar
  38. Leiter, M. P., & Maslach, C. (2000). Burnout and health. In A. Baum, T. Revenson, & J. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of health psychology (pp. 415–426). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  39. Leithwood, K. A., Menzies, T., Jantzi, D., & Leithwood, J. (1999). Teacher burnout: A critical challenge for leaders of restructuring schools. In R. Vandenberghe & M. Huberman (Eds.), Understanding and preventing teacher burnout: A sourcebook of international research and practice (pp. 1–13). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Liossis, P. L., Shochet, I. M., Millear, P. M., & Biggs, H. (2009). The Promoting Adult Resilience (PAR) Program: The effectiveness of the second, shorter pilot of a workplace prevention program. Behaviour Change, 26, 97–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mackrain, M. (2007). Devereux Adult Resilience Survey. Villanova, PA: The Devereux Foundation.Google Scholar
  42. Mackrain, M., & Bruce, N. (2009). Building your bounce: Simple strategies for a resilient you. Lewisville, NC: Kaplan.Google Scholar
  43. Mackrain, M., LeBuffe, P. A., & Powell, G. (2007). The Devereux Early Childhood Assessment for Infants and Toddlers (DECA-I/T) assessment, technical manual, and user’s guide. Lewisville, NC: Kaplan.Google Scholar
  44. Maslach, C., & Jackson, S. E. (1981). The measurement of experienced burnout. Journal of Occupational Behavior, 2, 99–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Maslach, C., & Leiter, M. P. (2005). Stress and burnout: The critical research. In C. L. Cooper (Ed.), Handbook of stress medicine and health (2nd ed., pp. 153–170). London, UK: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  46. Maslach, C., & Leiter, M. P. (2008). Early predictors of job burnout and engagement. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 498–512.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., Leiter, M. P. (2011). Job burnout. Annual Review of Psychology, 52(1), 397–422.Google Scholar
  48. Masten, A. S., Best, K. M., & Garmezy, N. (1990). Resilience and development: Contributions from the study of children who overcome adversity. Development and Psychopathology, 2, 425–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Masten, A. S., & Garmezy, N. (1985). Risk, vulnerability and protective factors in developmental psychopathology. In B. B. Lahey & A. E. Kazdin (Eds.), Advances in clinical child psychology (Vol. 8, pp. 1–512). New York, NY: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (1997). What is emotional intelligence? In P. Salovey & D. Sluyter (Eds.), Emotional development and emotional intelligence: Educational implications (pp. 3–34). New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  51. McCarthy, C. J., & Lambert, R. G. (2006). Helping teachers balance demands and resources in an era of accountability. In R. Lambert & C. McCarthy (Eds.), Understanding teacher stress in an age of accountability (pp. 215–226). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  52. Melamed, S., Shirom, A., Toker, S., Berliner, S., & Shapira, I. (2006). Burnout and risk of cardiovascular disease: Evidence, possible causal paths, and promising research directions. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 327–353.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Mental Health America. (2011). Children’s mental health statistics. Retrieved September 6, 2011, from
  54. Millear, P., Liossis, P., Shochet, I. M., & Biggs, H. (2008). Being on PAR: Outcomes of a pilot trial to improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace with the Promoting Adult Resilience (PAR) Program. Behaviour Change, 25, 215–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Montgomery, C., & Rupp, A. A. (2005). A meta-analysis for exploring the diverse causes and effects of stress in teachers. Canadian Journal of Education, 28, 458–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. National Association of School Psychologists. (2010). Model for comprehensive and integrated school psychological services. Retrieved September 6, 2011, from
  57. New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. (2003). Achieving the promise: Transforming mental health care in America (DHHS Pub. No. SMA-03-3832). Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Google Scholar
  58. Norman-Murch, T. (1996). Reflective supervision as a vehicle for individual and organizational development. Zero to Three, 17(2), 16–20.Google Scholar
  59. Patterson, J. H., Collins, L., & Abbott, G. (2004). A study of teacher resilience in urban schools. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 31, 3–11.Google Scholar
  60. Payton, J., Weissberg, R. P., Durlak, J. A., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., Schellinger, K. B., et al. (2008). The positive impact of social and emotional learning for kindergarten to eighth-grade students: Findings from three scientific reviews. Chicago, IL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.Google Scholar
  61. Provasnik, S., & Dorfman, S. (2005). Mobility in the teacher workforce: Findings from the condition of education 2005. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.Google Scholar
  62. Raver, C. C., & Knitzer, J. (2002). Ready to enter: What research tells policymakers about strategies to promote social and emotional school readiness among three- and four-year-old children (Promoting the emotional well-being of children and families policy paper no. 3). New York, NY: National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.Google Scholar
  63. Rintoul, B., Thorne, J., Wallace, I., Mobley, M., Goldman-Fraser, J., & Luckey, H. (1998). Factors in child development. Part 1: Personal characteristics and parental behavior. Prepared for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by the Research Triangle Institute. Retrieved September 6, 2011, from
  64. Roberts, W. L., & Strayer, J. (1987). Parents’ responses to the emotional distress of their children: Relations with children’s competence. Developmental Psychology, 23, 415–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Santavirta, N., Solovieva, S., & Theorell, T. (2007). The association between job strain and emotional exhaustion in a cohort of 1,028 Finnish teachers. The British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77, 213–228.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Schonfeld, I. S. (1990). Psychological distress in a sample of teachers. The Journal of Psychology, 124, 321–338.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Schonfeld, I. S. (2001). Stress in first-year women teachers: The context of social support and coping. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 127, 133–168.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Shirilla, J., & Weatherston, D. (2002). Case studies in infant mental health: Risk, resiliency and relationships. Washington, DC: Zero to Three.Google Scholar
  69. Shonkoff, J. P., & Phillips, D. A. (Eds.). (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  70. Simon, A., Harnett, S., Nagler, E., & Thomas, L. (2009). Research on the effect of the Inner Resilience Program on teacher and student wellness and classroom climate. Metis Associates. Retrieved September 6, 2011, from
  71. Skaalvik, E. M., & Skaalvik, S. (2007). Dimensions of teacher self-efficacy and relations with strain factors, perceived collective teacher efficacy, and teacher burnout. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 611–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Stanford, B. H. (2001). Reflections of resilient, persevering urban teachers. Teacher Education Quarterly, 28, 75–87.Google Scholar
  73. Tennant, C. (2001). Work-related stress and depressive disorders. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 51, 697–704.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Tschannen-Moran, M., & Woolfolk Hoy, A. (2001). Teacher efficacy: Capturing an elusive construct. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 783–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Waite, P., & Richardson, G. (2004). Determining the efficacy of resilience training in the worksite. Journal of Allied Health, 33, 178–183.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. Werner, E. E., & Smith, R. S. (1992). Overcoming the odds: High risk children from birth to adulthood. Ithica, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  77. Williams, J. S. (2003). Why great teachers stay [commentary]. Educational Leadership, 60, 71–75.Google Scholar
  78. Yoon, J. S. (2002). Teacher characteristics as predictors of teacher-student relationships: Stress, negative affect, and self-efficacy. Social Behavior and Personality, 30, 485–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer L. Fleming
    • 1
  • Mary Mackrain
    • 1
  • Paul A. LeBuffe
    • 1
  1. 1.Devereux Center for Resilient ChildrenVillanovaUSA

Personalised recommendations