Teachers' mental health during the first two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland

PLoS One. 2021 Sep 23;16(9):e0257252. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257252. eCollection 2021.


Background: Teaching work is stressful, moreover during the pandemic teachers' stress might have been intensified by distance education as well as by limited access to social support, which functions as a buffer in experiencing stress. The aim of the research was to investigate the relation between distance education and teachers' well-being, and their close relations and other social relations during the first two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: The research was conducted in two stages on 285 Polish primary and secondary school teachers who were recruited by means of the chain referral method. The following measures were used: The Depression Anxiety & Stress Scales-21, Berlin Social Support Scales, The Relationship Satisfaction Scale and The Injustice Experience Questionnaire.

Results: The teachers experienced at least mild levels of stress, anxiety and depression, both during the first as well as the second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland. It has been confirmed that there is a negative relation between relationship quality change and social relations quality change, and stress, anxiety and depression. The variables taken into consideration in the research have provided the explanation for the variation of stress-from 6% in the first stage of the research to 47% in the second stage; for the variation of anxiety-from 21% to 31%; and for the variation of depression-from 12% to 46%, respectively.

Conclusions: The research results show that due to distance work the distinction between professional work and family life might have been blurred, and as a consequence teachers' well-being could have been worsened. The isolation put on to stop the spreading of the virus might have contributed to changes in social relations, in close relations in particular, and at the same time negatively influenced teachers' abilities to effectively cope with the crisis situations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Education, Distance / methods
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Poland
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity
  • School Teachers / psychology*
  • Social Support
  • Students / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Grants and funding

The publication has been financed by the funds granted under the Research Excellence Initiative of the University of Silesia in Katowice. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or the preparation of the manuscript.