Elementary Teacher Stress and Students with Disabilities: Examining the Link between Coping and Training

Elyssa Magee, Fordham University


Researchers have documented the longstanding rates of teacher stress, as student populations rise, and size of the teacher workforce decreases. They have also examined the lack of training provided to teachers, specifically as it relates to students with disabilities (SWD) and students with problem behaviors (SWPB). However, research has not examined how all these variables, along with teachers’ coping strategies, impact their stress, and whether teachers differ in this experience. This study examined the effects of coping strategies, student characteristics (SWD, SWPB), and training to work with SWD on teachers’ experience of stress in general and special education settings. Participants were 370 certified teachers employed full time in a school (non-daycare) setting. Group comparisons included 255 special education teachers and 115 in general education. Most participants reported working in urban school districts in New York and New Jersey. Independent sample t-tests, a MANOVA, and hierarchical regression analysis were conducted. Results indicate that active coping, avoidant coping, and percentage of SWD were predictive of teacher stress. Some teacher differences were present as SE teachers reported significantly higher experiences of stress, using avoidant coping strategies more often, higher SWD, and SWPB. Predictors of stress differed by teacher group. Implications for future research and for the development of targeted intervention efforts are discussed.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Teacher education|Special education

Recommended Citation

Magee, Elyssa, "Elementary Teacher Stress and Students with Disabilities: Examining the Link between Coping and Training" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29166517.