Subjective well-being in New Zealand teachers : an examination of the role of psychological capital : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Psychology, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

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This study examines the relationship between psychological capital and well-being in a sample of 1,502 teachers. Teaching has been consistently identified as one of the most stressful occupations, a situation that inherently raises questions about teacher wellbeing. This study explores the extent to which psychological capital can act as a protective factor against stress and also examines the role of appraisal and coping in the stress-strain relationship. Teachers across New Zealand and from a range of teaching levels completed surveys measuring psychological capital, challenge and threat appraisal, task-focussed and emotion-focussed coping, affect, perceived stress, and life satisfaction. Data analysis identified direct and indirect effects of psychological capital on outcome measures of wellbeing and stress. Teachers with higher levels of psychological capital reported higher levels of well-being and lower levels of stress. Psychological capital was positively related to life satisfaction (r = .47, p <.01) and positive affect (r = .63, p <.01), and negatively related to perceived stress (r = -.66, p <.01) and negative affect (r = -.61, p <.01). In addition, psychological capital was a significant predictor of outcome measures. Psychological capital was also positively related to challenge appraisal and task-focussed coping, and negatively related to threat appraisal and emotion-focussed coping. Task-focussed coping was found to mediate the relationship between challenge appraisal and measures of well-being. Teachers high in psychological capital were more likely to appraise a situation as a challenge than a threat, and as a partial mediator, task-focussed coping explained some of the relationship between challenge appraisal and well-being.
Teachers, Psychology, Well-being, Wellbeing, New Zealand