A Qualitative Study of the Sources and Impact of Stress Among Urban Teachers

Elisa S. Shernoff, Tara G. Mehta, Marc S. Atkins, Raechel Torf, Jordan Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Although urban teachers are at-risk of experiencing significant work-related stress, urban teacher stress has been neglected in the research literature to date. Through semi-structured interviews conducted with a sample of K-4 urban teachers (N = 14) from three high-poverty schools in a large, Midwestern city, we examined teachers' perceptions regarding sources and impact of stress and the resources needed to address identified stressors. Results from consensual qualitative research (CQR; Hill et al. in Couns Psychol, 25:517-572, 1997; Hill et al. in Consensual qualitative research: an update, 2005) suggest that at least one-half of the cases identified lack of resources, excessive workload, school-level disorganization, managing behavior problems, and accountability policies as significant sources of stress. The majority of teachers reported that occupational stress significantly impacted their personal relationships and physical health, and teachers identified human and material resources as most important to reducing work-related stress. Implications for organizationally based interventions and school policies to address urban teacher stress are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-69
Number of pages11
JournalSchool Mental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


  • Predictors of teacher stress
  • Teacher effectiveness
  • Teacher mental health
  • Teacher stress
  • Urban schooling


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