A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF PSYCHIATRIC MORBIDITY AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS IN A LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF LAGOS STATE
Teaching is an age long profession which like any other profession may predispose its practitioners (teachers) to adverse health conditions (Pithers and Soden, 1998). These conditions may be physical or psychological. This has led over the years to the development of concepts of Occupational Health and Occupational Psychiatry.
Occupational health has been defined as the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations by preventing departures from health, controlling risks and the adaptations of work to people and people to their jobs (ILO/WHO, 1950). Occupational or Industrial psychiatry on the other hand has been defined as that area of psychiatry specifically concerned with vocational maladjustment and the psychiatric aspects of problems at work. Examples of psychiatric symptoms include insecurity, reduced self-esteem, anger and resentment at having to work (Sadock and
Several studies conducted overseas have shown high levels of psychological disturbance among school teachers. In Western Australia for example, Keith and Tuettemann (1990) found the level of psychological distress among secondary school teachers to be twice that expected in general population. Porto et al (2006) found a prevalence rate of
44% among teachers in Brazil while Baeur et al (2007) in their own study found a prevalence rate of 29.8% among secondary school teachers in Germany.
The levels of psychological disturbance were also found to be higher in teachers when compared to other professional groups such as clerks, nurses and other health care professionals (Lodolo et al, 2004; Sveinsdottir et al 2007). A number of factors have been implicated as being responsible for this high levels of psychological disturbance in teachers. These include socio-demographic factors, occupational factors and factors associated with personality characteristics of the teachers (Jurado et al, 2005; Gasparini et al, 2006; Nagai et al, 2007 ).
The psychological disturbances found to be high among teachers include anxiety, irritability, burnout, fatigue, depression, psychoactive substance abuse and somatoform disorders (Watts and Short, 1990; Cropley et al,1999; Kovess-Masfety et al, 2006) These high levels of psychological disturbance have been associated with poor performance at work, absenteeism and early retirement of teachers leading to loss of manpower in the teaching profession (Brown et al, 2006; Maquire and O’Connell, 2007).
In Nigeria, a number of studies have been reported on various occupational groups. Among these are the studies by Shanker and Famuyiwa (1991) on Stress Among Factory
Workers In A Developing Country, Haruna et al (1998) on the Psychiatric Morbidity Among Workers At A Paint Factory In Nigeria and that of Yussuf et al (2006) in which they carried out a Survey Of Psychiatric Morbidity And The Risk Factors Among Chief Executives Of Tertiary Health Institutions. However, studies on the mental health of teachers in Nigeria appears to be scanty. This is in spite of reports from other countries that showed a relatively high psychiatric morbidity among teachers. It is in view of this and the realization of the importance of good mental health of teachers in the performance of their strategically important profession that this study is conceived.