Working conditions, lifestyle and mental health of Brazilian public-school teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic

This article was originally published here

Psychiatriki. 2021 Nov 26. doi: 10.22365/jpsych.2021.045. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

This study aimed to describe the working conditions, lifestyle and mental health of Brazilian public-school teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an epidemiological websurvey, carried out from August to September 2020. Teachers from public schools in rural and urban areas in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, participated in the study. A digital questionnaire was used and the study addressed variables related to four major thematic topics: sociodemographic and economic profile, working conditions, lifestyle and health conditions, and mental health problems during the pandemic. The sample consisted of 15,641 teachers, of which 13.3% worked in rural areas, 81.9% were women, 56.2% were aged 41-60 years, 66.8% were married, 99.2% were working remotely and 79.8% adhered to social distancing. During the pandemic, 40.6% showed a decrease in family income, 33.7% were dissatisfied with their work, 58% reported increased body weight, 47.9% did not exercise, 35.8% were part of at least one risk group for COVID-19, 40.5% had some flu-like symptoms during the pandemic and 1.2% tested positive for COVID-19. Regarding mental health problems, 25.9% of teachers self-reported formal diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression during the pandemic. In addition, 7.1% of teachers were drinking more alcohol than usual, 33.4% started having sleep problems, 30.4% were using relax/sleep/anxiety/depression medications, 67.1% reported that their quality of life worsened and 43.7% reported having severe fear of COVID-19. It was also found that 82.3% of teachers had at least one mental health problem during the pandemic, such as increased alcohol consumption, sleep problems, use of psychotropic medication, decreased quality of life, and fear of COVID-19. The results of this study reveal the numerous challenges and the extent of the impact of the pandemic on working conditions, lifestyle, and especially on the mental health of teachers.

PMID:34860687 | DOI:10.22365/jpsych.2021.045