Occupational stress, mental health status and stress management behaviors among secondary school teachers in Hong Kong

Sharron S.K. Leung, Yim Wah Mak, Ying Yu Chui, Chung Lim Vico Chiang, Angel C.K. Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Objective This study aimed to examine occupational stress and mental health among secondary school teachers in Hong Kong, and to identify the differences between those actively engaged in stress management behaviors and those who were not. Design Survey design was adopted using validated instruments including Occupational Stress Inventory (OSI-R), Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21), and Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile (HPLP) II. Setting The sample was 89 secondary school teachers who attended a professional development course offered by the University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong, People's Republic of China. Method All 99 students who attended the professional development course were invited and 89 consented to participate and returned the completed questionnaires. Results The majority of participants (75.3 percent) reported fair to very low satisfaction with the teaching career, and 82 percent of them felt unaccountably tired or exhausted. Results of OSI-R showed that 38.6 percent had experienced strong maladaptive stress due to vocational strain but coping resource was limited with most deficits on rational and cognitive coping. Analysis of DASS-21 indicated that 30.3 percent had severe to extremely severe anxiety and 12.3 percent had severe to extremely severe depression. HPLP II revealed that participants paid little attention to their own health and the management of stress. Those who exhibited more stress management behaviors showed significantly less physical symptoms, higher satisfaction with teaching, and lower occupational stress. Conclusion Secondary teachers in Hong Kong have high occupational stress but insufficient stress coping resources. Cognitive-behavioral programs to enhance teachers' stress management resources are recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-343
Number of pages16
JournalHealth Education Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • Hong Kong
  • Mental health
  • Occupational stress
  • Secondary school
  • Stress management
  • Teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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