The Well-Being of Primary School Teachers during COVID-19

Hjordis Sigursteinsdottir*, Gudbjorg Linda Rafnsdottir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the self-rated health and well-being of Icelandic teachers just before and over a year after COVID-19 first appeared. We ask, what was the stress level in 2021 compared to 2019 and the impact of mental and physical health and health symptoms on perceived stress? Were there any changes in self-assessed mental and physical health? Were there any changes in self-assessed mental and physical health symptoms? The study is based on an online survey conducted in 2019 and 2021. A total of 920 primary school teachers answered the questionnaire in part or in full, after three reminders. The main findings show increased stress, worsening mental and physical health, and increasing mental and physical symptoms in 2021 compared to 2019. The results also show a higher percentage of women than men reporting high stress, with women scoring higher on the PSS scale, but the gender patterns for mental and physical health are less clear. The results show that the COVID-19 pandemic had negative consequences on the health and well-being of the teachers. The study demonstrates the importance of school authorities keeping an exceptionally watchful eye on the welfare and well-being of teachers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11177
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.

Other keywords

  • mental health
  • perceived stress
  • physical health
  • primary school teachers


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