Buffet Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska


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Roberts, A.M., Gallagher, K.C., Daro, A.M., Iruka, I.U., & Sarver, S.L. (2019). Risk factors for depression among early childhood teachers. Buffett Early Childhood Institute. Retrieved from: https://buffettinstitute.nebraska.edu/-/media/beci/docs/jadp-research-brief-4-8-19.pdf?la=en


Copyright © 2019 Buffett Early Childhood Institute.


This study examined possible risk factors associated with teachers’ depression in a variety of early childhood settings. Teachers with lower pay, no health insurance, multiple jobs, greater job stress, and more adult-centered beliefs reported more symptoms of depression. To reduce these symptoms, efforts should be made to support teachers’ mental health at multiple levels, including individual, environmental, and policy.

Researchers used data collected in 2015-16 from a large survey of early childhood educators in Nebraska. Four early childhood settings were sampled: licensed family child care homes (home-based), licensed child care centers (center-based), state-funded PreK programs, and elementary schools serving children in Kindergarten through Grade 3 (K-3). Across settings, a total of 1,640 teachers responded to the survey: 36% in K-3, 25% home-based, 23% center-based, and 17% PreK. The survey included various measures, including economic circumstances (health insurance status, pay, public assistance use, and working multiple jobs), work-related stress, beliefs about children’s development (the extent to which teachers held more adult-centered vs. child-centered beliefs), and symptoms of depression.