Given the already complex nature of the responsibilities of teachers, the anti-COVID-19 pandemic measures placed on teaching and learning activities raised further challenges and difficulties in the lives of teachers in Hong Kong. Evidence shows that the COVID-19 crisis negatively impacted teachers’ mental health resulting in outcomes such as stress and depression. Datu and colleagues conducted a randomized control trial to examine the impact of a PROSPER-based intervention on psychological outcomes among preschool teachers in Hong Kong.
As an organizing tool for the implementation of Positive Education, the PROSPER framework nominates seven key elements which contribute to psychological well-being: positivity, relationships, outcomes (accomplishments), strengths, purpose, engagement, and resilience. The PROSPER-based intervention in this study was considered relevant to preventing maladaptive psychological states among teachers who are experiencing intense levels of stress during the pandemic crisis.
A total of 76 participants was randomly assigned to an intervention group (n=36) and a wait-list control group (n=40). Treatment group (a) participated in four intervention online workshops for 2.5 hours each over a month; (b) participated in an online activity after two workshops; and (c) received four educational videos after workshops were completed. The online intervention workshops covered all seven PROSPER components, for instance, introduction of growth mindset, reflective listening, identification of core values, breathing techniques for stress management, a gratitude diary. A self-reported questionnaire was employed to measure those seven components. After controlling baseline scores, compared to the control group, the results of MANCOVA showed that:
- Intervention had positive effects on positivity (ES = +0.41), strength (ES = +0.62), purpose (ES = +0.61), and resilience (ES = +0.57).
- No significant effect was found on relationships (ES = +0.04), outcomes (ES = +0.15), and engagement (ES = +0.18).
Possible reasons why no effect was found on those three components could be the limited frequency of the intervention or the duration of the intervention. There were also potential threats to the validity of the study, for example, only a small percentage of preschool teachers voluntarily participated ln the program so the results cannot be generalized. Further, by the use of self-reported measures of well-being dimensions, it is possible that social desirability and self-serving bias might distort the effects of the intervention. Nevertheless, the study provided some evidence for the importance of crafting wellbeing programs for preschool teachers.
Source (Open Access): Datu, J. A. D., Lee, A. S. Y., Fung, W. K., Cheung, R. Y. M., & Chung, K. K. H. (2022). Prospering in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: The effects of PROSPER-based intervention on psychological outcomes among preschool teachers. Journal of School Psychology, 94, 66–82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2022.08.003