Background: Most studies of school violence have focused on students. Consequently, precursors and consequences of violence experienced by teachers are less well documented. Previous research indicates that (a) verbal victimization, student misbehaviour and perceived violence at school impair teacher emotional well-being, (b) support from principal and colleagues reduces these difficulties and fosters well-being, (c) well-being impacts on professional involvement. However, it is still not clear how those variables relate to each other.
Aims: To test and compare - through structural equation modelling - two models of the relationships between perceived school support, exposure to school violence, subjective well-being and professional disengagement. To test - through multigroup analysis - the buffering effect of school support between school violence and well-being.
Sample: Participants in this study were 487 French-speaking teachers (57% female) randomly selected from 24 secondary schools in Belgium.
Method: Participants completed a questionnaire on school leadership, relationships with colleagues, verbal victimization, students' misbehaviour, perceived violence, depression, somatization, anxiety and professional disengagement.
Results: The results support a model in which perceived school support has a direct effect on exposure to school violence, subjective well-being and professional disengagement, while the effect of school violence on disengagement is totally mediated by well-being. No evidence of a moderating effect of school support was found.
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that the negative emotional impact of some forms of school violence could be an important factor in a teacher's intention to leave, and that school support could be even more important for both teacher emotional well-being and professional disengagement.