Psychological violence as work trauma impacting on teachers' health in Lesotho : guidelines for teacher support for health promotion / Malineo Agnes Matsela
Matsela, Malineo Agnes
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence, severity, source and impact of psychological violence as work trauma on the health of teachers in Lesotho and to further develop guidelines for teacher support for the promotion of their health. In order to achieve this aim, the study focused on the following specific aims: firstly, it set out to investigate the prevalence of psychological violence against teachers, in the secondary and high schools in Lesotho. Secondly, to examine the severity of psychological violence experienced by teachers. Thirdly, to investigate the sources of psychological violence for teachers. Fourthly, establish the impact that psychological violence has as work trauma on teachers' health and finally on the basis of the findings to develop guidelines for teacher support in order to promote their health. The mixed method research design was used to gather data for the study. This involved the use of research methods from both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Mixed method research design was used because it allowed for a deeper investigation of the research problem and to reach a large number of respondents. Quantitative data was subjected to descriptive statistical analysis and factor analysis. On the other hand the qualitative methods involved the use of phenomenological interviews together with the symptoms checklist, and open ended question from the psychological violence scale. Data from these methods was organized into categories and sub-categories. The findings from this study indicate that psychological violence against teachers is highly prevalent. It further emerged that the psychological violence they experienced had a serious impact on all of the five contexts of their existence namely biological, psychological, spiritual, ecological and metaphysical contexts that can be regarded as work trauma. The sources of psychological violence experienced by teachers are the management of schools to a large extent, followed by colleagues of equal status and parents, community and the students to a lesser extent. The findings further indicate that the longer serving and older teachers experience more psychological violence than younger teachers who are coming into teaching service. It also emerged that there was no gender differences in terms of the experience of psychological violence, thus men and women experience psychological violence equally. Findings from both the qualitative and quantitative research methods were synthesized and on the basis of the conclusions drawn and the literature search, guidelines for teacher support were developed. The guidelines were categorised as follows, guidelines for teacher support based on the teachers' experiences of psychological violence and guidelines for teacher support based on the impact of psychological violence they experienced. In the light of the findings the study recommends that, teacher support programmes should be put in place in order to address issues of psychological violence and its impact on teachers' health. It further recommends that a holistic health promotion policy be implemented within the human resource management departments in the various ministries. Finally an in-depth research study of psychological violence and its impact should be undertaken at all levels of education in Lesotho, starting from early childhood care level up to the tertiary level. In conclusion the study established the prevalence, severity, source and impact of psychological violence against teachers. It further established the traumatic impact of their experiences. The study has revealed that due to their experiences of psychological violence teachers need support in order to promote their health.
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