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Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2007 Apr;80(5):442-9. Epub 2007 Feb 10.

Working conditions, adverse events and mental health problems in a sample of 949 German teachers.

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Abteilung für Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie, Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Hauptstr. 8, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.



The aim of this study was (1) to explore in detail the working load of teachers, (2) to analyse the extent of negative or threatening school-related events teachers are confronted with, and (3) to evaluate mental health strain by applying the general health questionnaire (GHQ).


A sample of 949 teachers in 10 grammar schools (German: Gymnasien) and 79 secondary modern schools (German: Hauptschulen) was investigated applying (1) a questionnaire covering different aspects of the occupational burden and threatening school-associated events and (2) the general health questionnaire (GHQ-12).


Based on what teachers indicated in the questionnaire, full-time teachers work more than 51 h weekly. More than 42% of our sample indicated verbal insults, almost 7% deliberate damage of personal belongings, and 4.4% threat of violence by pupils during the past 12 months. When applying the GHQ-12, we found that 29.8% of the sample report significant mental health problems. With respect to school types, teachers in secondary modern schools indicated more of such problems, while no effects regarding age, gender, or full/part-time teaching were observed.


To be a teacher is a hard work and requires coping of considerable amount of adverse events. Based on the GHQ, nearly 30% of teachers suffer from significant mental health problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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