The Associations Between Aggression Toward Teachers, Teachers’ Traumatic Stress Response, Job Satisfaction, and Perceived Administrator Support

December 2022
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Aggression toward teachers by students is not a new phenomenon in schools, but the impact on teachers has just recently been included in the literature. Aggression toward teachers by students has primarily been studied by the American Psychological Association’s task force, which showed a high prevalence of aggression toward teachers by students. Although aggression toward teachers has been researched in the literature, the influence of aggression on the traumatic stress response of teachers is lacking. The influence of student aggression against teachers could likely shape the traumatic stress response of teachers, thus a revolving door of aggression and possible traumatic stress response in teachers. Job satisfaction of teachers has also been studied in the literature in response to aggression toward teachers and administrator support, showing more satisfaction from teachers who feel supported; however, little is known about how administrator support could influence the traumatic stress response of teachers. Current research on aggression toward teachers shows that administrator support appears to be an important variable in how teachers feel after they are aggressed against. This study investigated the relationship between teacher report of perceived administrator support and teachers’ report of aggression directed towards them, teachers’ job satisfaction, and traumatic stress response. The current study used a survey design through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit, asking public school teachers who teach kindergarten through twelfth grade to respond. Existing measures of aggression toward teachers, job satisfaction, traumatic stress response, and perceived administrator support were used to evaluate a model positing the interactions between those variables. Structural equation modeling was utilized to study the relationship among these variables.
The theory surrounding this study was grounded in Conservation of Resources by Hobfoll (2001), which postulates that people gather resources during times of non-stressful events, and they seek to conserve and collect additional resources during moments of stressful situations. The resources for this study were the perceived administrator support from the teachers’ ratings on this measure. High levels of aggression directed toward teachers raises concerns related to perceived administrator support, job satisfaction of teachers, and possible traumatic stress response of teachers. The interactions of these variables could possibly increase our knowledge about how teachers respond to aggression toward them, through possible traumatic stress response, and how resources, such as perceived administrator support, possibly influence these relationships. A lack of research on the traumatic stress response of teachers who are aggressed against leads to the importance of such a study. The results from this study showed that aggression toward teachers was negatively associated with traumatic stress response, traumatic stress response was negatively associated with job satisfaction of teachers, and administrator support was positively associated with teachers’ job satisfaction. Despite limitations in measurement design and the timeframe of data collection, these results raise concern about teacher traumatic stress response and administrator support, thus researchers should investigate possible interventions to help teachers when they are aggressed against in the future.