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Éva Bíró, Lajos Olvasztó and Karolina Kósa: A Mental Health Survey of Kindergarten Student Teachers

Along with parents, kindergarten and school teachers play a fundamental role in shaping the knowledge, skills and personalities of children. The effectiveness of teachers as moral educators and role models is fundamentally influenced by their health status and mental health. Our research group carried out a health survey among future teachers in 2007, the results of which revealed increased psychological stress. The aim of this study was to survey the mental health of students training to be kindergarten teachers at a university in Hungary. The students filled in a standardized self-administered questionnaire in 2009, which included domains on demographic data, health status (social support, subjective health, and mental health as measured by sense of coherence, psychological distress, depression, and perceived stress), and health behaviour (smoking habits and alcohol and drug use). Close to 80% of the students completed the questionnaire, the vast majority being female (97%). More than half of them considered their health status good or very good. However, 90% thought that there was a great deal or a very great deal that they could still do to improve their health. Almost one-third of the students scored above the strict threshold for psychological distress, indicating notable distress-related problems. Three-quarters of the students scored in the mild-to-moderate range of depression and 8% in the moderate-to-severe range. 14% of the students noted a severe lack of social support in general and 31% lacked any social support from their student peers. Future kindergarten teachers are more burdened by psychological distress than their non-student peers of the same age and gender. Further research is required to uncover the factors that contribute to the mental health problems of this group. However, conditions must be ensured for future kindergarten teachers to maintain and promote their mental health and personality development.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 110. Number 4. 285-300. (2010)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Bíró Éva, Olvasztó Lajos és Kósa Karolina, Debreceni Egyetem Orvos- és Egész¬ség¬tudományi Centrum Népegészségügyi Kar Megelőző Orvostani Intézet Egészség¬fej¬lesz¬té¬si Tanszék, H–4012 Debrecen, Postafiók 2.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia