Organisational interventions for improving wellbeing and reducing work-related stress in teachers.

Thompson, Marc, Aber, J. L., Bonell, C. P., Montgomery, P and Naghieh, A (2015) Organisational interventions for improving wellbeing and reducing work-related stress in teachers. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2015 (4).


The teaching profession is an occupation with a high prevalence of work-related stress. This may lead to sustained physical and mental health problems in teachers. It can also negatively affect the health, well-being and educational attainment of children, and impose a financial burden on the public budget in terms of teacher turnover and sickness absence. Most evaluated interventions for the well-being of teachers are directed at the individual level, and so do not tackle the causes of stress in the workplace. Organisational-level interventions are a potential avenue in this regard.

To evaluate the effectiveness of organisational interventions for improving well-being and reducing work-related stress in teachers.

We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, ASSIA, AEI, BEI, BiblioMap, DARE, DER, ERIC, IBSS, SSCI, Sociological Abstracts, a number of specialist occupational health databases, and a number of trial registers and grey literature sources from the inception of each database until January 2015.

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), cluster-RCTs, and controlled before-and-after studies of organisational-level interventions for the well-being of teachers.

We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane.

Four studies met the inclusion criteria. They were three cluster-randomised controlled trials and one with a stepped-wedge design.Changing task characteristics: one study with 961 teachers in eight schools compared a task-based organisational change intervention along with stress management training to no intervention. It found a small reduction at 12 months in 10 out of 14 of the sub-scales in the Occupational Stress Inventory, with a mean difference (MD) varying from -3.84 to 0.13, and a small increase in the Work Ability Index (MD 2.27; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.64 to 2.90; 708 participants, low-quality evidence).Changing organisational characteristics: two studies compared teacher training combined with school-wide coaching support to no intervention. One study with 59 teachers in 43 schools found no significant effects on job-related anxiety (MD -0.25 95% CI -0.61 to 0.11, very low-quality evidence) or depression (MD -0.26 95% CI -0.57 to 0.05, very low-quality evidence) after 24 months. The other study with 77 teachers in 18 schools found no significant effects on the Maslach Burnout Inventory sub-scales (e.g. emotional exhaustion sub-scale: MD -0.05 95% CI -0.52 to 0.42, low-quality evidence) or the Teacher Perceived Emotional Ability sub-scales (e.g. regulating emotions sub-scale: MD 0.11 95% CI -0.11 to 0.33, low-quality evidence) after six months.Multi-component intervention: one study with 1102 teachers in 34 schools compared a multi-component intervention containing performance bonus, job promotion opportunities and mentoring support to a matched-comparison group consisting of 300 schools. It found moderately higher teacher retention rates (MD 11.50 95% CI 3.25 to 19.75 at 36 months follow-up, very low-quality evidence). However, the authors reported results only from one cohort out of four (eight schools), demonstrating a high risk of reporting bias.

We found low-quality evidence that organisational interventions lead to improvements in teacher well-being and retention rates. We need further evaluation of the effects of organisational interventions for teacher well-being. These studies should follow a complex-interventions framework, use a cluster-randomised design and have large sample sizes.

Item Type: Article
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2018 14:08
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2018 14:08

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