Coping with Occupational Stress among Early Childhood Educators. Factors of Occupational Stress, Coping Strategies and Factors of Wellbeing at Work: A Case Study in the Netherlands and Germany.

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This study contributes to the sparse scientific knowledge on the work lives of early childhood educators (ECEs). In particular, this study investigates factors of occupational stress and wellbeing at work as experienced by ECEs. Furthermore, it examines the strategies that ECEs use to cope with occupational stress and the role of wellbeing at work in this context. The study is a qualitative and comparative case study conducted in two childcare centers; one situated in the Netherlands and one in Germany. In total, 13 semi-structured interviews were conducted and analyzed. The findings of the study reveal several factors of occupational stress and of wellbeing at work as experienced by the ECEs. Factors causing either occupational stress or wellbeing at work are grouped as: ‘education and care work factors’, ’further work factors’, ‘organizational factors’, and/or ‘personal factors’. Moreover, the study found that ECEs of both case organizations employ various individual and collective coping strategies. When ECEs of both childcare centers cope, they either manage occupational stress after it occurred, or they minimize and/or avoid occupational stress before it spreads or occurs. Besides, results of this study found that wellbeing at work positively influences ECEs’ abilities to cope with occupational stress.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen