Teacher Mental Health: The Relationships between Teacher Philosophies of Happiness, Emotions and Indicators of Psychological Wellness




Mattison, Timothy Scott

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Teaching primary and secondary students can be a fulfilling career helping children learn and grow. However, teachers also experience stress, anxiety and negative emotions that make it difficult to maintain their psychological wellness. Their stress, anxiety and negative emotions come from, among other things, the pressure for students to perform on standardized tests, student misbehavior, emotional labor from showing empathy and processing the trauma of others. Up until the mid-1980's research on teacher psychological wellness focused on reducing teacher stress and anxiety. Since then, some researchers have reframed teacher psychological wellness as the fulfillment of psychological needs for relatedness (relationships with other people), competency and autonomy. This dissertation examines the results of a quantitative study to uncover the relationship between teachers' philosophies of happiness, emotions and indicators of psychological wellness defined as the fulfillment of basic psychological needs. The study involved a survey administered to Kindergarten to 12th grade teachers from one urban school district in Texas. The survey included items from a variety of psychological scales to measure the following 10 constructs: teachers' philosophies of happiness (virtue ethics, deontology, utilitarianism and physiological), emotions (anger, anxiety and satisfaction) and indicators of psychological wellness (relatedness, autonomy and competency). The study also involved structural equation modeling to determine the relationships between constructs. This structural equation modeling revealed complex relationships between constructs that in some cases conflicted with what existing theories say should be the nature of these connections. Chapters 4 and 5 of the dissertation discuss those unexpected results.


The author has granted permission for their work to be available to the general public.


Burnout, Depression, Happiness, Stress, Teacher, Wellness



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies