Absence of conflict of interest.
The study’s objective was to examine the impact of a workshop providing teachers with information about emotional labor and coping strategies on burnout, helpful coping skills, and unhelpful coping skills.
The study used an interrupted time series design to compare burnout and coping skills before and after teachers participated in the workshop. The study’s data come from surveys administered six months before the intervention and six months after.
The study found that teachers reported using helpful coping skills significantly more frequently after the intervention but that the intervention was not associated with changes in teachers’ feelings of burnout or use of unhelpful coping skills.
This study receives a low evidence rating. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the intervention; other factors are likely to have contributed.
Workshop focused on emotional labor
Features of the Intervention
The intervention was a 60-minute workshop that drew on prior research about the burdens of emotional labor and helpful and unhelpful coping skills. This workshop was provided to teachers as part of their monthly staff development and consisted of both lecture-style presentation and interactive activities. First, participating teachers listened to an overview on the topic of emotional labor and discussed situations in which they faced emotional labor as teachers. Then, the workshop focused on coping skills, discussing which were considered helpful or unhelpful based on research. Finally, a goal setting activity was completed where participants wrote down a stressor causing them emotional labor and other participants shared strategies that could be used to address the stressor.
Features of the Study
The study used an interrupted time series design to compare burnout and coping strategies before and after the workshop. Participants completed a pre-intervention survey six months prior to the workshop, and then a follow-up survey six months after the workshop. The sample was 97 teachers who completed both the pre- and post-intervention surveys. Most (83%) were female with an average age of 41. Participants had all completed college and 53% had obtained a graduate degree. The teachers were from three school districts in an unspecified Midwestern state.
Burnout was measured using the Maslach Burnout Inventory, which asks participants to rate 21 items on a seven-point scale from 1 (never) to 7 (every day) to indicate how often each behavior is true for them (e.g., “I feel emotionally drained from my work”). Coping Skills were assessed using the Brief COPE Inventory, which asks participants to rate on a four-point scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 4 (a lot) how often they use each coping skill. For this study, 10 items were coded as helpful (e.g., Active Coping, Planning, Positive Reframing) and 12 items were coded as unhelpful (e.g., Denial, Emotional Venting, Self-Blame).
Health and safety
The study found that teachers reported using helpful coping skills significantly more frequently after the intervention but did not report any significant change in their use of unhelpful coping skills.
The study found no significant difference in teachers’ feelings of burnout before and after the intervention.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The authors compared the outcomes of participants measured before and after they participated in the workshop. For these types of designs, authors must observe outcomes for multiple periods before the intervention to rule out the possibility that participants had increasing or decreasing trends in the outcomes examined before participation in the program. Without knowing the trends before program enrollment, or any other changes that might have occurred at the same time as the workshop, we cannot rule out that some other factor explains the changes that occurred after the workshop. Therefore, the study receives a low causal evidence rating.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors did not adequately account for trends in outcomes before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the workshop providing information about emotional labor and targeting effective coping skills; other factors are likely to have contributed.