Early childhood education (ECE) in the United States has undergone a rapid shift in the past three decades. Millions of babies and young children attend out-of-home care on a daily basis (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). Unfortunately, employment conditions for their teachers have consistently placed many of them barely above the federal poverty threshold (Whitebook, 2002). The benefits of a living wage notwithstanding, burnout (as conceptualized by Maslach & Jackson, 1981) actually reflects a problem of relationships within the context of an occupational role. Teaching in early childhood is work that has no real cultural or historical context, but the demands of the work itself have dramatically increased over the past thirty years. The current study investigated the associations between ECE teachers’ risk for burnout, their perceptions of job stress, the quality of their relationships with children, and their internal working models of their caregiving roles at work. To that end, a new measure, the Teacher Care Patterns Questionnaire (TCPQ), was developed and piloted on a representative sample (N = 253) of ECE teachers in the United States. Results of this study indicated that participants experienced moderate levels of burnout risk, and that this risk showed significant associations with their self-reported levels of job stress and relationship quality. Further, burnout was most significantly associated with teachers’ internal representations of themselves as caregivers as measured by the TCPQ, serving as preliminary validation of this measure. Implications of these findings for future research and for the field of Infant Mental Health are discussed.
|Advisor:||George, Carol, Perez, Linda|
|Department:||Education - Infant Mental Health|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 55/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Early childhood education, Educational psychology, Occupational psychology|
|Keywords:||Attachment, Burnout, Caregiving, Early childhood education, Role stress|
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