Date of Degree

2-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Educational Psychology

Advisor

Emilia C. Lopez

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Psychology | School Psychology | Student Counseling and Personnel Services

Keywords

burnout, perceptions, school violence, teachers, training, victimization

Abstract

The present study seeks to contribute to the limited body of literature addressing teachers and school violence (SV). The development of SV is analyzed through an ecological perspective (i.e., Bronfenbrenner, 1979), that allows consideration of how SV is influenced by individual, classroom, school, and community factors. Literature suggests that few teachers report feeling prepared to respond to instances of violence prior to entering the field (Kandakai & King, 2002) and that it is not clear if teachers are receiving adequate training to equip them with strategies and coping skills for dealing with SV (Espelage et al., 2013; Sela-Shayovitz, 2009). The purpose of this study is to fill the gaps in the existing research by exploring training experiences related to SV that teachers have received, and how having such training influences teachers' perceptions of SV and their level of burnout. One hypothesis was that teachers who have received more training feel more confident (i.e., have higher self-efficacy) in appropriately responding to SV when faced with such situations. Another hypothesis stated that having training to prepare for SV assists teachers in coping with negative effects related to SV, and reduces teachers' perceived risk of victimization and levels of burnout. Since many factors influence SV under an ecological perspective, the current study also investigates how ecological variables may influence the relationship between teacher training and perceptions of SV, and burnout. These ecological variables include exposure to SV, exposure to teacher victimization, experiences of teacher victimization, attrition related to SV, school climate, teacher role expectations, perceptions of cultural similarities or differences from students, and the impact of such cultural differences. The current study used a mixed methods research design (i.e., Creswell, 2009) to answer both exploratory and confirmatory research questions. The final sample size for the study was 281 teachers from across the United States. Participants were recruited through teacher associations, teacher networking groups, graduate programs in education, and snowballing methods using email or internet postings via distribution lists and social media pages. Participants completed an online questionnaire developed for this study, the Teacher Experience with Violence (TEV) survey, and a published measure of burnout, the Maslach Burnout Inventory- Educators Survey (MBI-ES; Maslach, Jackson, & Schwab, 1986). Descriptive statistics, content analysis, correlations, and hierarchical multiple regression were used to analyze the data. Participants reported varying amounts of training related to SV received, with more training received through employer professional development compared to pre-service, self-sought, or mandatory certification training. About half of the teachers in the sample reported they had received training that helped them to feel more confident in responding to SV, feel safer and less at risk of victimization, or to manage work-related stress; and the majority reported that they felt having additional training would assist in these areas. The majority of participants reported their training had not prepared them to deal with their most stressful SV experience. Additional findings related to participants' perceptions of their training experiences and SV are discussed. The results of the regression analyses indicated that training predicted higher self-efficacy, perceived risk of victimization, and levels of the personal accomplishment dimension of burnout above and beyond the ecological factors included in the models; while no relationship was found between training and the emotional exhaustion and depersonalization components of burnout. Relationships found between the ecological factors included in the models with the dependent variables are discussed.

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