School mental health practitioners and researchers are increasingly concerned about educator job-related stress and its implications for teacher burnout, teaching efficacy, turnover, and student outcomes. Educators’ collegial networks in their schools are natural resources for stress support, yet little is known about the extent to which educators seek support from their colleagues in managing their stress and whether these relationships promote their emotional wellbeing. Utilizing peer nomination and self-report data from 370 educators in 17 elementary and middle schools, we found patterns in whom educators nominated as a source of stress support. Specifically, educators more often nominated colleagues who worked in the same role, grade, and/or subject, and those similar in age and who had similar or more experience. Furthermore, men and educators of color more often nominated same-gender and same-race colleagues, respectively, whereas these trends were not observed for women or White educators. However, the prevalence of these characteristics among colleagues nominated as a source of stress support was not often significantly associated with educators’ stress and burnout. Rather, educators’ level of burnout was positively related to the burnout among those in their stress support networks. In addition, educators’ stress and burnout were positively related to the stress and burnout of their colleagues with whom they spent the most time. These findings highlight how educators’ perceptions of stress and burnout may be shared within their collegial networks and have implications for a role for colleagues in teacher stress-reduction and wellbeing-focused interventions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Support for this project comes from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education (Grant #s: R305A150221 and R324A110107) and the Spencer Foundation awarded to the [school and name redacted for blind review]. The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute, the U.S. Department of Education, or the Spencer Foundation. We would like to thank the study coaches and research assistants who supported the data collection, as well as [name redacted for blind review], who aided with data collection and consultation on analyses.
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
- Collegial support
- Social network analysis
- Teacher stress and burnout
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article