The effect of COVID-19 on schoolteachers' emotional reactions and mental health: longitudinal results from the CLASS study

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Purpose We investigated schoolteachers’ emotional reactions to COVID-19 and mental health during three phases of the
COVID-19 pandemic. We further analyzed if teachers, who belonged to a COVID-19 risk group, had more emotional reactions and poorer mental health than “non-risk” groups.
Methods We collected questionnaire data in May, June, and November–December 2020 and used data from 2665 teachers at public schools (871 individuals participated in all three surveys). Participants reported their fear of infection, fear of
transmission of infection to their home or pupils, perceived burnout and stress, and worries about their ability to manage
the working conditions. We included information about COVID-19 risk group status, gender, age, organization of teaching
(physical presence or remote teaching), and the pupils’ grade. We estimated prevalence ratios and took repeated measures
into account.
Results Emotional reactions and poor mental health increased signifcantly with 27–84% from May to November–December
2020. Teachers, who were particularly vulnerable to the adverse consequences of COVID-19, had the highest prevalence of
fear of infection and poor mental health.
Conclusion Teachers play a crucial role in a society’s response to a pandemic. Yet, the dual role of teaching and virus control
along with concerns regarding the health consequences of an infection may contribute to the observed increase in emotional
reactions to COVID-19 and poor mental health.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)855–865
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Research areas

  • COVID-19, Mental health, Occupational health, School teachers, Longitudinal studies

ID: 282733599