Gastrointestinal Illness and Stress in Public School Teachers
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The primary purpose of this study is to examine the connection between occupational stress and gastrointestinal disorders in a sample of public school teachers. Research has shown that occupational stress can have detrimental effects on the gastrointestinal system. Methods: A total of 3,361 Texas public school teachers teaching grades kindergarten through twelfth grade agreed to participate in this study. Participants were separated into two groups: those who reported gastrointestinal illnesses and those who did not. Demographic variables, teacher- specific comparisons, and psychosocial/health comparisons were utilized within the study. Results: Based on the final regression model, African American participants or those of Other racial/ethnic backgrounds were found to have higher levels of gastrointestinal illnesses. For occupational variables, poor teacher attitude was found to be a significant indicator of gastrointestinal illness. Psychosocial and Health comparisons such as high levels of perceived stress, poor physical health quality of life, and somatization disorder were also significant predictors of gastrointestinal stress. Conclusions: Special attention should be given to teachers facing occupational, psychosocial, and health related stressors as these stressors may manifest into gastrointestinal illnesses.