Exploring Diurnal Cortisol Rhythms of Kindergarten Teachers in Kosovo and Ukraine

Antje von Suchodoletz, Natalia M. Rojas, Iryna Nadyukova, Ross A.A. Larsen, Fitim Uka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Teachers’ stress is a dynamic combination of the individual teacher's characteristics and characteristics of the classroom and school environment. To date, there are limited studies on teachers’ stress in the context of lower-middle-income countries (LMICs), where working conditions as well as general political and economic circumstances might pose a considerable threat for teachers’ well-being. This study explores whether certain combinations of individual and environmental experiences of teachers in LMICs may result in stress, assessed as patterns of diurnal cortisol rhythm. Participants were kindergarten teachers in Kosovo and Ukraine, two LMICs in Europe. Latent Profile Analysis identified three subgroups of teachers that significantly differed on teachers’ education and experience. Preliminary results of Latent Growth Modeling suggested differences between profiles in baseline waking cortisol and patterns of diurnal decline. Teachers in the profile that was characterized by the longest experience working in the field but the lowest level of education showed blunted cortisol in the morning and a flatter slope; a pattern that could indicate a maladaptive cortisol response. Future directions for studying stress processes among teachers in LMICs and implications for policy and practice on how to support teacher well-being in low-resource contexts are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-297
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
Volume63
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Kindergarten
  • Low-resource context
  • Salivary cortisol
  • Teachers’ stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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