Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Donald H. Saklofske


Research has confirmed job dissatisfaction, and high levels of occupational stress and burnout resulting from the emotional demands of teaching. This dissertation focuses on a potential solution to support teachers’ psychological wellbeing in their paramount role to society: training in emotional intelligence. Recent research has demonstrated not only the positive role of emotional intelligence (EI) in enhancing stress management, coping skills, psychological wellbeing, and resilience, but that EI can be developed through EI training. Empirical evidence has recently shown support for EI training specifically within the teaching population. However, there remains a dearth of applicable empirically-based training programs aimed at effectively helping to manage teacher stress in the classroom. Building upon the success that EI training programs have had in a range of populations, the present research focused not only on the evaluation of one specific program, but also sought further understanding regarding the mechanisms through which EI influences positive outcomes. The current work follows the administration of three rounds of one such program, Managing Occupational Stress Through the Development of Emotional Intelligence (Gardner, Stough, & Hansen, 2008) to a group of pre-service teachers. These studies provide a comprehensive, theory-driven evaluation of: 1) the short-term and intermediate outcomes and 2) the implementation and processes with slight modifications of this program between training sessions. The nature of the mixed-method evaluation design involved both quantitative and qualitative analyses of each training component to examine the assumptions underlying service delivery and processes. It also allowed for a more direct exploration of causal effects. Results indicated not only that EI improves compared to controls post-program and at follow-up (1- and 6-month), but also that stress indicators decrease coincidental with an increase in adaptive coping and teacher efficacy. Finally, the assessment of participant responses, comprehension, skills application, and feedback offers a critical understanding regarding how EI impacts outcomes along with insight regarding the agents of change that may drive learning and application processes.

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