BACKGROUND: Unfavourable working conditions are associated with poor mental health and many studies show that teachers are at risk of this. AIMS:To investigate if and to what extent specific dimensions of working conditions are associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety in teachers in state schools in Italy. METHODS: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey of Italian state schoolteachers using the Karasek Job Content Questionnaire, the Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). We tested the hypotheses that high job demand, low decision latitude and low support are associated with anxiety and depression in teachers using a correlation matrix and hierarchical multiple regression models. RESULTS: 113/180 (63%) of schoolteachers invited to participate completed the survey. 49% scored above the cut-off on CES-D and 11% on SAS. CES-D was positively correlated with job demand (r = 0.517, P < 0.01) and negatively with social support (r = -0.226, P < 0.05). SAS was positively correlated with job demand (r = 0.408, P < 0.01). Hierarchical multiple regression analysis showed that job demand was significantly associated with CES-D and SAS scores, explaining 28 and 25% of variance respectively. CONCLUSIONS: About half of the teachers in this study scored above the threshold for depression and ~1 in 10 for anxiety on self-rating questionnaires. Poor mental health in teachers is significantly associated with high job demand and low social support. These results should be confirmed in larger, more representative samples.
- mental health