2013. Vol.4, No.3A, 349-355
Published Online March 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 349
Occupational Stress and Professional Burnout in Teachers of
Primary and Secondary Education: The Role of Coping Strategies
Alexander-Stamatios Antoniou1, Aikaterini Ploumpi2, Marina Ntalla1
1University of Athens, Athens, Greece
2Institution of Childcare G. & A. Chatzikonsta, Athens, Greece
Received December 21st, 2012; revised January 22nd, 2013; accepted February 17th, 2013
This research investigates the levels of occupational stress and professional burnout of teachers of pri-
mary and secondary education. It also aims to investigate the coping strategies that they adopt, and the
relationship between them. The survey involved 388 teachers who teach in public schools in Attica. Three
instruments were administrated to teachers: “Teachers’ Occupational Stress” (Antoniou, Polychroni, &
Vlachakis, 2006), the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach & Jackson, 1986) and the “Stress Coping
Strategies Scale” (Cooper, Sloan, & Williams, 1988). The findings showed that teachers of Primary Edu-
cation experience higher levels of stress compared to the teachers of Secondary Education. Female teach-
ers experience more stress and lower personal accomplishment than men. Rational coping behaviors are a
resource which help teachers overcome work-related stressors and burnout and achieve their valued
outcomes with students, while avoidance coping predicted high level of stress and burnout.
Keywords: Teachers’ Stress; Burnout; Coping Strategies
Stress experienced by teachers is a subject of intense interest
in recent years. Various factors have been identified linked with
teacher’s occupational stress. The most important of these fac-
tors are: business requirements, many different activities within
the school environment, lack of professional recognition, disci-
pline problems in the classroom, bureaucracy, lack of support,
workload, time pressure, lack of benefits (Mearns & Chain,
2003). It has been argued that when teachers feel that they in-
vest more in students, colleagues, and school than they receive
from them, then they are more likely to face emotional, psy-
chological and occupational difficulties (Van Horn, Schaufeli,
& Taris, 2001). The sources of stress experienced by a particu-
lar teacher are unique to him/her and depend on the interaction
between personality, values and skills and the circumstances.
All mentioned stressors have been shown to lead to teachers’
The burnout syndrome is described as emotional exhaustion
which is the result of chronic stress and particularly occurs in
people who are in contact with other people professionally. It
comprises three components: emotional exhaustion, deperson-
alization and lack of personal accomplishment/achievement
(Montgomery & Rupp, 2005). There is evidence showing that
newly appointed teachers who actually tend to think the resig-
nation are more prone to experiencing burnout. However, many
researchers argue that the intense occupational stress does not
necessarily mean burnout. Among the most important factors
that affect teachers is role ambiguity, role conflict (Kantas,
1995), workload, time pressure (Tsiakkiros & Piasiardis, 2002),
lack of autonomy and self-motivation (Olivier & Williams,
2005), lack of participation in decision-making (Kantas, 1995),
competitive relationships between the teacher and his/her col-
leagues or superiors, lack of recognition of the professional role,
methods of disengagement from a stressful situation (Riolli &
Savicki, 2002), levels of personal satisfaction, the fulfillment or
frustration of expectations and the clash of values. It has been
found that changes in teachers’ perceptions of classroom over-
load and students’ disruptive behavior are negatively related to
changes in autonomous motivation, which in turn negatively
predict changes in emotional exhaustion (Fernet, Guay, Senec-
tal, & Austin, 2012). Moreover, demographic characteristics
such as age, sex, class level, marital status and the cultural con-
text play a significant role in teacher burnout (Schwab, Jackson,
& Schuler, 1986).
As far as Greek data is concerned, job demands affect burn-
out (Pomaki & Anagnostopoulou, 2003) and Greek teachers
experience high levels of stress (Antoniou, Polychroni, & Vla-
chakis, 2006; Kantas, 2001). Overall, research shows that Greek
teachers experience lower levels of burnout than colleagues in
other countries (Kantas, 2001; Polychroni & Antoniou, 2006).
Indeed, a study of Papastylianou, Kaila and Polychronopoulos
(2009) found that teachers experience positive emotions of per-
sonal accomplishment that help them cope with grief and lack
of pleasure.
Based on previous studies, there are gender differences in all
three burnout syndromes and teachers’ occupational stress.
Women teachers experience higher levels of burnout, parti-
cularly emotional exhaustion (Antoniou, Polychroni, & Vala-
chakis, 2006) and lack of personal achievement, but less de-
personalization than male teachers (Lau, Yuen, & Chan, 2005).
Moreover, Yavuz (2009) found that men experience higher
depersonalization. Also, Maslach, Jackson and Leiter (1996)
reported that women teachers showed higher emotional ex-
haustion than men. In contrary, Zhao and Bi (2003) found no
difference in the three burnout syndromes between women and
men teachers of secondary education. Previous research in
Greece indicated that female teachers experience higher levels
of stress and greater job dissatisfaction that usually comes from
negative classroom conditions, pupils’ behavior and the work
and family interaction (Kantas, 2001).
The findings that are focused on comparing levels of burnout
of primary and secondary school teacher are of great interest. In
Anderson and Iwanicki’s research (1984), the secondary school
teachers reported higher levels of burnout as compared to pri-
mary school teachers. In a survey conducted in Hong Kong, Mo
(1991) found that the phenomenon of burnout was present at
secondary teachers. Other studies have also confirmed that tea-
chers who teach older children have lower levels of teaching
performance (Polychroni & Antoniou, 2006). In addition, tea-
chers of younger students experience the lowest levels of burn-
out, while this is not the same for their colleagues who teach
older students (Kantas, 1996). Bakker, Demerouti and Euwema
(2005) stated that teachers of secondary education are less ef-
fective in relation to primary school teachers.
Several studies indicate that work environment is important
predictor of beginning teachers’ burnout (Friedman, 2000; God-
dard, O’Brien, & Goddard, 2006). According to Freidman (2000),
the transition from schooling to work is often harsh, and re-
flects the “shattered dreams”. The teachers’ experience at the
beginning may be termed a “reality shock” as they know the
school and classroom reality. The reality shock phenomenon is
related to their training failed to provide them with the needed
knowledge for handling student discipline problems and class-
room behavior disturbances.
It has been shown that the coping strategies, personality traits
and the environment can affect the level of stressful situations
that are recruited. According to Lazarus and Folkman stress and
coping model (1984), when a person is confronted with a
stressful event he/she is involved in a process of primary ap-
praisal. Whether the state will be considered as stressful is de-
pendent on the person and the situation. Then the person makes
a secondary consideration. In this process the individual en-
gages in a cognitive assessment of personal and environmental
reserves to cope with the stressful event. In other words, the
primary assessment refers to assessing the stressor of the situa-
tion, while the secondary refers to assessing the ability of indi-
viduals to cope with the situation. Both types are cognitive
assessment procedures which rely heavily on personal assess-
Various kinds of strategies have been proposed in the litera-
ture. For example, the response may relate to managing the
problem that causes stress and to easing the emotional reaction
to the problem. The first refers to the problem-oriented coping
while the second to the emotion-oriented coping (Admiraal,
Korthagen, & Wubbels, 2000). The problem-oriented coping
includes coping strategies and problem solution such as prob-
lem definition, identification of alternatives, evaluation of al-
ternatives in terms of costs and benefits of such a choice. The
emotion-oriented coping includes positive reappraisal and com-
parison as well as defense strategies such as avoidance and
detachment. People will adopt the emotion-oriented coping
when they think they cannot do anything to change the envi-
ronmental conditions. In contrast, they adopt a problem-ori-
ented coping when they consider environmental conditions as
Chan (1998) found that the type of coping strategies affects
teachers’ emotional health. Similar results were reported in
Sweden, where the use of active coping strategies seemed to
mitigate the negative effects of teacher work stress (Brenner,
Sorbom, & Wallius 1985). The social and emotional support by
significant others has also been shown to benefit teachers under
pressure (Burke, Greenglass, & Schwarzer 1996). Instead, the
avoidance of the problem can aggravate pressure (Chan, 1998).
A survey of Griva and Joekes (2003) showed that the use of
problem-oriented strategies was associated with lower levels of
depersonalization while high levels of meaning, problem-ori-
ented strategies and environmental risk were associated with
high levels of personal achievement.
The present study aims to investigate the levels of occupa-
tional stress and professional burnout and examine the coping
strategies adopted by Greek teachers of public primary and
secondary schools according to gender, education level and
years of service. Finally, the link between stress and burnout
with coping strategies related to teachers of primary and sec-
ondary education is investigated. The research questions were
as follows: 1) Are there differences in occupational stress, burn-
out and coping strategies between teachers of primary educa-
tion and teachers of junior and senior high education? 2) Are
there differences in occupational stress, burnout and coping
strategies between male and female teachers? 3) Are there dif-
ferences in occupational stress and burnout as to the years of
teaching? 4) Do the coping strategies predict occupational
stress and burnout?
According to our predictions, female teachers should report
higher level of occupational stress and burnout. The gender dif-
ferences can be explained by social theory, which refers to wo-
men’s sensitivity and empathic abilities as a result of which
women’s self is a self in relation with others (Pines & Ronen,
2011). The second hypothesis refers to the association between
teachers’ stress, burnout and education levels, junior and senior
high education. The results of different studies indicate the need
for research for better understanding the different burnout pat-
terns among the two education levels. From the fact that the
teachers who teach older children have lower levels of teaching
performance (Polychroni & Antoniou, 2006), we assumed that
they have higher level of stress and burnout than their col-
leagues of primary education. Third, we tried to explain any
emerging difference in teachers’ occupational stress and burn-
out according to the years of practicing the occupation. We
assumed that teachers with few years of teaching experience
could exhibit higher levels of stress and burnout that teachers
with many years of teaching experience. Finally, we assumed
that coping strategies should predict occupational stress and
burnout. Specifically, positive approach, task strategy and ra-
tional problem solving strategy should predict lower level of
occupational stress and burnout and higher level of personal
accomplishment. In contrary, avoidance coping should lead to
higher levels of occupational stress and burnout and lower level
of personal accomplishment.
The sample consisted of 388 Greek teachers (37.9% males
and 62.1% females) of public primary (53.6%) and secondary
(46.4%) schools working in Attica, Greece. As for age, 59.6%
of teachers of primary schools were aged up to 40 years and
40.4% of teachers of secondary schools aged over 40 years. The
average years of teaching experience were 16.2 with a range
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
from 1 to 35 years. Specifically, the teaching experience of 55
(14.2%) teachers was from 1 - 5 years, 66 (17.1%) teachers had
teaching experience from 6 - 10 years, 76 (19.6%) of all sample
worked from 11 - 15 years and 190 (49.1%) of the teachers
worked over 16 years.
The questionnaire “Teachers’ Occupational Stress” (Antoniou
et al., 2006) was used, which included 30 statements referring
to the degree of stress caused by occupational stressors. Teach-
ers identify the level of stress that they experience at a six-point
Likert-type scale ranging from 1 “it is not stressful at all” to 6
“it is very stressful”. The occupational stressors were: a) work-
ing conditions (α = 0.89); b) teachers’ workload (α = 0.88); c)
pupils’ interest in learning (α = 0.76); d) support and recogni-
tion from the state (α = 0.74).
Professional burnout was assessed by the Maslach Burnout
Inventory (MBI-ED version for teachers) developed by Mas-
lach and Jackson (1986). This scale has been used before with
Greek teaching populations (Antoniou et al., 2000; Kantas,
2001). It consists of 22 statements where the respondents iden-
tify how often they feel professional burnout at a seven-point
Likert-type rating scale ranging from 0 “never” to 6 “every
day” (reliability was calculated at α = 0.68). The three dimen-
sions of professional burnout assessed by this tool are: a) emo-
tional exhaustion (α = 0.84); b) depersonalization (α = 0.67); c)
reduced personal accomplishment (α = 0.78).
The scale “Stress Coping Strategies” (from the Occupational
Stress Indicator by Cooper, Sloan & Williams, 1988 translated
by A-S Antoniou) was also used. Teachers identify different
strategies people used to overcome stressful situations at a
six-point scale ranging from 1 “I do not use this option/way” to
6 “I always use this option/way”. It consists of 28 statements
which resulted in 4 factors: a) avoidance (α = 0.68); b) positive
approach (α = 0.84); c) action strategies (α = 0.71); d) logical
problem solving (α = 0.68).
The last part of the questionnaire administered to teachers
contained general questions about teachers’ sex, age, years of
practicing their profession, etc.
The questionnaires were administered individually in pri-
mary and secondary teachers of public schools in Attica. The
research team met the teachers to explain the research. The
questionnaires were anonymous and the instructions given to
teachers were to answer as honestly and spontaneously as
possible to all questions. Necessary and very important for the
completion of the questionnaires was the reassurance that
researchers respect the confidentiality of their responses. After
distributing the surveys and giving detailed instructions, 400
teachers completed questionnaires. After excluding individuals
due to missing data on demographic variables, the final sample
consisted of 388 individuals.
Occupational Stress, Burnout and Coping Strat egies
by School Level and Gender
The influence of the school level (teachers of Primary School
and teachers of Junior High and Senior High School) and gen-
der (male and female) in occupational stress, burnout and cop-
ing strategies was tested using a multivariate model using SPPS
20 version. Three multivariate analyses were conducted. The
factors of occupational stress, burnout and coping strategies
were the dependent variables, while school and gender were the
independent variables.
Occupational stress, school level and gender. According to
multivariate analysis of variance teachers of primary education
compared with teachers of Junior and Senior High Education
reported higher level of occupational stress in all variables:
workload F(1, 384) = 6.76, p < 0.01, η2 = 5% working condi-
tions F(1, 384) = 56.7, p < 0.001, η2 = 13%, interest of students
F(1, 384) = 5.77 p < 0.05, η2 = 1.5% and lack of support from
government F(1, 384) = 26.1, p < 0.001, η2 = 6%. Women
seemed to experience more workload than men F(1, 384) =
21.1, p < 0.001, η2 = 5%. They reported more problems in
working conditions F(1, 384) = 18.8, p < 0.001, η2 = 4.7% and
in motivation of student F(1, 384) = 20.1, p < 0.001, η2 = 5%.
Finally, they reported higher level of lack of support from gov-
ernment compared with teachers of junior and senior school
F(1, 384) = 11.2, p < 0.01, η2 = 2.8%.
Burnout, school level and gender. Only emotional exhaustion
was different between teachers of Primary and teachers of Jun-
ior and Senior High Education F(1, 383) = 51.7, p < 0.001, η2 =
12%. Teachers of Primary education deemed to experience
higher emotional exhaustion than teachers of Junior and High
Education. Again, women reported higher emotional exhaustion
than men F(1, 383) = 6.58, p < 0.05, η2 = 1.7%.
Coping strategies, school level and gender. Teachers of Pri-
mary education reported using the avoidance strategy more than
teachers of Junior and Senior High Education F(1, 384) = 22.26,
p < 0.001, η2 = 5.5%. Women use positive approach F(1, 384)
= 8.27, p < 0.01, η2 = 2.1% and avoidance strategy F(1, 384) =
6.05, p < 0.05, η2 = 1.6% more than men.
Occupational Stress, Burnout and Coping Strat egies
by Years of T eac hi ng
The influence of the years of teaching was tested using a
univariate model. Three one way analyses of variance were
conducted. The factors of occupational stress, burnout and
coping strategies were the dependent variables, while years of
teaching was the independent variables (Table 2). One way
analysis of variance indicated that teachers practicing their
profession from 11 - 15 years reported higher scores of stress in
working conditions than other teachers’ groups. Teachers prac-
ticing their profession more than 16 years reported lower level
score of stress in working conditions than other groups. The
mean score of teachers working from 1 - 10 years is higher
from the mean score of teachers practicing their profession
from 11 - 15 years and lower from the mean score of teachers
working in school more than 16 years F(3, 385) = 4.31, p <
0.01. Teachers practicing their profession from 11 - 15 years
reported higher levels of emotional exhaustion, while teachers
practicing their profession more than 15 years indicated lower
level of emotional exhaustion. The mean score of teachers
practicing their profession from 1 - 10 years is higher than the
mean score of their colleagues working over 16 years and lower
than the mean score of colleagues’ mean score working 11 - 15
years F(3, 385) = 6.91, p < 0.001. There were no differences
egarding coping strategies. r
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 351
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Table 1.
Means of occupational stress, burnout and coping strategies as a function of school level.
School level Gender
Prima Second MaleFemale
Μ. Μ. F η2 Μ. Μ. F η2
Occupational stress
Workload 3.45 3.22 6.76** 0.05 3.13 3.99 21.1*** 0.05
Working conditions 3.86 3.19 56.7*** 0.13 3.33 3.72 18.8*** 0.047
Interest of students 3.89 3.67 5.77* 0.015 3.58 3.99 20.1*** 0.05
Lack of support from gov/ment 3.17 2.77 26.1*** 0.06 2.84 3.10 11.2** 0.028
Emotional exhaustion 2.40 1.58 51.7*** 0.12 1.84 2.13 6.58* 0.017
Depersonalisation 1.05 0.90 2.61 0.007 1.03 0.92 1.45 0.004
Personal accomplishment 4.70 4.57 2.05 0.005 4.71 4.56 2.79 0.007
Coping strategies
Positive approach 4.51 4.47 0.38 0.001 4.39 4.60 8.27** 0.021
Task strategies 4.76 4.86 1.79 0.005 4.74 4.88 3.62 0.009
Rational problem solving 4.49 4.63 3.38 0.009 4.63 4.50 2.75 0.007
Avoidance 3.47 3.13 22.26*** 0.055 3.21 3.39 6.05* 0.016
Note: *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001.
Table 2.
Means of occupational stress, burnout and coping astrategies as a function of years of teaching.
1 - 5 6 - 10 11 - 15 Over 16 years F
Μ. Μ. Μ. Μ.
Occupational stress
Workload 3.42 3.35 3.53 3.34 0.90
Working conditions 3.68 ab 3.66 ab 3.86 a 3.44 b 4.31**
Interest of students 3.95 3.81 3.86 3.81 0.37
No support from government 3.25 3.01 3.13 2.91 3.43
Emotional exhaustion 2.03ab 2.32 ab 2.44a 1.81b 6.91***
Depersonalisation 0.95 1.15 1.01 0.88 1.61
Personal accomplishment 4.59 4.57 4.77 4.57 1.03
Coping strategies
Positive approach 4.65 4.49 4.52 4.50 0.75
Task strategies 4.82 4.77 4.80 4.85 0.29
Rational problem solving 4.55 4.47 4.43 4.61 1.42
Avoidance 3.33 3.43 3.38 3.28 0.84
Note: **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001. Means sharing a common subscript do not differ significantly according to Bonferroni post hoc criterion for α = 0.05.
Regression Analyses Predicting Occupational Stress
from Gender, Years of Teaching, School Level and
Coping Strategies
Separate regressions were performed using SPPS 20 version
to examine relations between occupational stress and coping
strategies. In these analyses entry order was as follows: Step 1
was “gender”, step 2 was “years of teaching”, step 3 was
“school level” and step 4 was “coping strategies” (Table 3).
According to results, higher rational problem solving, was re-
lated to lower stress from workload β = –0.16, t = –3.07, p <
0.01 and working conditions β = –0.14, t = –2.81, p < 0.01.
Higher avoidance of problems was linked to higher stress from
workload β = 0.37, t = 7.54, p < 0.001, working conditions β =
0.37, t = 8.00, p < 0.001, low interest of students β = 0.24, t =
4.57, p < 0.001 and lack of support from government β = 0.16, t
= 3.09, p < 0.01. Group of female teachers was related to higher
level of stress from workload β = 0.16, t = 3.32, p < 0.01, R2 =
0.048, working conditions β = 0.14, t = 3.22, p < 0.01, R2
=0.041, low interest of students β = 0.17, t = 3.44, p < 0.01, R2
= 0.047 and lack of support from government β = 0.12, t = 2.28,
p < 0.05, R2 = 0.026. Finally, teachers of primary schools re-
ported more stress regarding working conditions β = 0.25, t =
5.45, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.12 and lack of support from government
β = 0.18, t = 3.55, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.049.
Separate regressions were performed to examine relations
between burnout and coping strategies. In these analyses entry
order was as follows: Step 1 was “gender”, step 2 was “years of
teaching”, step 3 was “school level” and step 4 was “burnout”
(Table 4). Results indicated that higher rational problem solv-
ing, was related to lower emotional exhaustion β = –0.14, t =
–2.70, p < 0.01 and lower depersonalization β = –0.11, t =
–1.99, p < 0.05. Higher avoidance of problems was linked to
higher emotional exhaustion β = 0.25, t = 5.23, p < 0.001 and
depersonalization β = 0.23, t = 4.42, p < 0.001. Positive ap-
proach β = 0.16, t = 2.94, p < 0.01, task strategies β = 0.15, t =
2.68, p < 0.01 and rational problem solving β = 0.15, t = 2.72, p
< 0.01 were related to high level of personal accomplishment.
Finally, teachers of primary schools reported higher emo-
tional exhaustion β = 0.27, t = 5.1, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.13. Fe-
males reported lower personal accomplishment β = –0.10, t =
–2.07, p < 0.05, R2 = 0.008.
In this study we investigated levels of teacher occupational
stress among teachers as the consequence of task demands that
teachers face in performing their professional roles and
responsibilities (Steyn & Kamper, 2006), burnout and coping
strategies. Our main finding is that rational coping behaviors is
a resource which helps teachers overcome job-related stressors
and achieve their valued outcomes with students. Previous
research has shown that problem solving strategies help people
obtain information about what to do and act accordingly to
Table 3.
Regression analyses predicting occupational stress from coping strategies
Occupational stress
Workload Working conditions Interest of students Lack of support
β β β β
1. Gender 0.16** 0.14** 0.17*** 0.12*
2. Years of teaching 0.06 0.01 0.02 –0.05
3. School level 0.005 0.25*** 0.05 0.18***
4. Coping strategies
Positive approach 0.10 0.04 0.10 0.01
Task strategies –0.05 –0.04 –0.04 0.03
Rational problem solving –0.16** –0.14* –0.09 –0.12*
Avoidance 0.37*** 0.37*** 0.24*** 0.16**
Total R2 0.22 0.31 0.13 0.12
Note: *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001.
Table 4.
Regression analyses predicting burnout from coping strategies.
Emotional exhaustion Depersonalisation Personal accomplishment
β β β
1. Gender 0.06 –0.09 –0.10*
2. Years of teaching –0.009 –0.06 –0.001
3. School level 0.27*** 0.01 0.08
4. Coping strategies
Positive approach 0.007 –0.08 0.16**
Task strategies –0.07 –0.09 0.15**
Rational problem solving –0.14** –0.11* 0.15**
Avoidance 0.25*** 0.23*** –0.10
Total R2 0.23 0.10 0.13
ote: *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 353
change the situation (Lazarus, 1999). The positive correlation
between avoidance coping and teachers’ occupational stress
indicated that teachers denying the existence of the problem
without changing the situation are ineffective in overcoming
negative outcomes of numerous stressors including heavy
workload, work conditions, lack of students’ motivation and
low support by the government. The results indicated that levels
of stress experienced by teachers may be dependent on the
coping strategies that the teachers employ. Previous studies
indicated that teacher with lower levels of stress used more
active coping strategies while teachers with higher levels of
stress used more passive coping strategies (Austin, Shah, &
Muncer, 2005).
Coping strategies may also be an important variable in rela-
tion to burnout. Specifically, positive approach of the problem,
task strategies and problem solving predict high level of per-
sonal accomplishment, while avoidance of the problem is a po-
sitive predictor of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization.
Furthermore, problem solving coping appeared to contribute to
the low level of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization felt
by teachers. The results are consistent with a number of studies
reported a relationship between teacher burnout and coping
strategies (Betoret & Artiga, 2010). Avoidance coping was
found to be associated with higher level of emotional exhaus-
tion, and depersonalization (Austin, Shah & Munce, 2005).
Moreover the study explored how stress and burnout of
teachers were related to important variables, such as gender,
teaching experience and school level. The findings indicated
that women reported significantly higher level of occupational
stress and lower level of personal accomplishment. This finding
is confirmed in other studies (e.g. Rout & Rout, 2002) that refer
to social role theory, gender roles and gender role expectations
(Pines & Ronen, 2011). Regarding teaching experience, our
study indicated that teachers with 11 - 15 years of teaching
experience reported higher level of stress from working con-
ditions and emotional exhaustion than teachers with 1 - 10
years and above 15 years of experience. Teachers above 15
years of teaching experience showed the low level of stress
from working conditions and emotional exhaustion, while the
stress and emotional exhaustion of beginning teachers is lower
compared to teachers above 16 years of experience and higher
compared to teachers with 11 - 15 years. Our results are not in
consistence with the theory about the vulnerability of the transi-
tion from being a student to being a teacher (Conroy, 2004).
According to our results, the curve line reflect the teachers
stress and emotional exhaustion. This could be explained by the
fact that teachers who do not work for many years invest a lot
of energy in order to adapt to their professional role, thus
experiencing intense stress. On the other hand, after many years
experience teachers feel more adapted to school environment
and working conditions.
Finally, teachers of Primary Education experience more
stress as compared to the teachers of Secondary Education. The
stressor linked to teacher stress are working conditions and low
support from the government. However, there is a view (Kantas,
2001) that in recent years Greek primary schools have become
a field of many changes and reforms, and new conditions cause
negative emotions and stress on teachers more than in the past.
Other studies indicated the same results. For example, Izgar
(2003) found that levels of emotional exhaustion and deper-
sonalization are higher among primary school teachers than
secondary school teachers. There was no difference in personal
In conclusion, it appears that the sources and the conse-
quences of teachers’ occupational stress and burnout and the
adoption of specific strategies for dealing with stressors in the
workplace are complicated. For this reason, it is necessary that
all parameters to be taken into account in the design and im-
plementation of primary and secondary prevention programs
addressed to teachers with the aim of preventing or reducing
teacher stress. Teachers’ effective use of coping strategies
could serve as a factor which helps prevent work-related stress
and burnout. Further research is needed to identify more spe-
cific factors that lead to occupational stress and burnout and to
investigate the coping strategies that teacher use and their
relation to occupational stress and burnout.
Limitations and Future Research
This study had several limitations that can be addressed by
future research. Firsts, the sample consists only of teachers who
work in public primary and secondary schools of the Capital of
Greece. So, it is not representative of all teachers of primary
and secondary schools. Hence, a more representative sample
might yield different results; for example, a sample from dif-
ferent areas of Greece might show significant interaction effects
of education level and area. Second, the study of other variables,
such as personality or family variables may play important role
in predicting occupational stress and burnout. Thus, future
research can also collect more variables related to stress and
burnout of teachers. Third, the longitudinal design is important
to investigate the development of stress and burnout among
teachers (beginning teachers and teachers with experience over
6 years) (Goddard et al., 2006).
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