November 17, 2022
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Teachers showed significantly higher prevalence of negative mental health outcomes compared to healthcare workers and office workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers reported in Educationist.
Joseph M. Kush, PhDassistant professor in the Department of Graduate Psychology at James Madison University, and colleagues sought to quantify the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and the mental health of professionals.
Kush and colleagues examined three measures of mental health: depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and feelings of isolation. The authors used data from the US COVID-19 Trends and Impact Survey, an online survey from Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook, which invited users to answer questions related to physical and mental health symptoms.
Data was used from adult patients aged 18 and over, who responded to the survey from Sept. 8, 2020, through March 28, 2021. A total of 2,775,974 respondents were included. Of these, 135,488 were teachers. Respondents were classified into one of four groups: teachers, health workers, clerical workers and “other”.
According to logistic regression results, health workers (OR = 0.70), supervisors (OR = 0.81), and other workers (OR = 0.78) were significantly less likely to report anxiety symptoms compared to teachers.
In addition, health workers were less likely to report depressive symptoms (OR = 0.95) and feelings of isolation (OR = 0.96) compared to teachers. However, office workers (OR = 1.20) and other workers (OR = 1.10) were significantly more likely to report symptoms of isolation.
In a subgroup analysis, teachers who taught remotely were significantly more likely to report depressive symptoms (OR = 1.12) and feelings of isolation (OR = 1.56) compared to teachers who taught in person.
“While a number of guidelines have been proposed for safe and supportive learning environments when schools reopen, these reports often do not consider the scale and magnitude of potential negative mental health impacts among teachers, nor do they suggest appropriate alternative strategies and interventions to address applies to such. trouble,” wrote Kush and colleagues.