Original Research

The psychosocial work conditions and mental well-being of independent school heads in South Africa

Jozef E. Breedt, Belinda Marais, Jon Patricios
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 21 | a2203 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v21i0.2203 | © 2023 Jozef E. Breedt, Belinda Marais, Jon Patricios | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 December 2022 | Published: 31 August 2023

About the author(s)

Jozef E. Breedt, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Belinda Marais, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Jon Patricios, Wits Sport and Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: Numerous international studies have investigated the well-being of school Heads. Studies have shown the impact of psychosocial work conditions leading to burnout and stress, negatively impacting on mental well-being. This study aimed to determine the psychosocial work conditions and mental well-being of South African independent School Heads.

Research purpose: Assessing the psychosocial work conditions and the potential impact on mental well-being of school Heads as this has not been previously studied in South Africa.

Motivation for the study: Heads have multiple responsibilities in the school setting. An imbalance in job resources and demands as reflected by the psychosocial work conditions negatively impacts mental well-being and puts Heads at risk for mental illness.

Research approach/design and method: The study adopted a quantitative research approach, using an anonymous cross-sectional questionnaire design, distributed to Heads of independent schools in South Africa (N = 817; n = 296). A demographic questionnaire, the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) III-middle version and mental health continuum-short form (MHC-SF) were used to collect data. Spearman correlation, analysis of variance and univariate linear regression were used to describe associations.

Main findings: This study demonstrated fair correlation between various psychosocial work conditions and mental well-being. Furthermore, two demographic groups were identified as being most at risk for poorer well-being: younger and female Heads.

Practical/managerial implications: This study assisted in identifying at risk groups for possible psychosocial intervention.

Contribution/value-add: This study served to address the previous knowledge gap in South Africa regarding the mental well-being of school Heads and will potentially pioneer further studies in specific modifiable factors and intervention programmes.


Keywords

independent school heads; well-being; psychosocial work conditions; COPSOQ III; MHC-SF.

JEL Codes

A10: General; A13: Relation of Economics to Social Values; A23: Graduate

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Metrics

Total abstract views: 2061
Total article views: 1557

 

Crossref Citations

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Kelly De Jesus, Sumari O’Neil
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