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    Teachers experience high work-related stress, which can lead to missed workdays and lower quality of life. The objective of this exploratory pilot study was to assess occupational and environmental stressors in public school districts by income level to examine the influence these stressors have on teachers perceived stress and biological stress response. Fifty-nine teachers were recruited from four school districts in Michigan (three low-income and one high-income). Participants completed a self-administered survey on teaching stressors, health, and demographics. Stress response was measured through blood pressure, heart rate, and salivary cortisol. Six salivary cortisol measurements were collected for each participant; three in the afternoon and three in the evening. Each teacher's classroom and school underwent an environmental assessment on quality and proximity to environmental hazards. Teachers at low-income school districts had significantly higher afternoon cortisol levels, lower self-reported health, higher body mass index, higher perceived teaching stressors, and worked at schools within one km of a greater number of environmentally-contaminated sites, in comparison to their high-income school district counterparts. This research aims to inform future interventions that could lessen occupational and environmental stressors for teachers, improve teacher health outcomes and retention, and impact student success rates.


    Mozhgon Rajaee, Samantha N Karson, Ashley M McCullough. Teachers on the margins: How low-income public schools burden our teachers. Work (Reading, Mass.). 2022;72(3):949-965

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    PMID: 35634819

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