Principal Investigator: Jennifer Cavallari, Sc.D., CIH

Associate Professor, Division of Public Health Sciences, UConn Health

Project Period: 2021-2026

The Total Teacher Health (TTH) research project is a large and multi-phase research and intervention study focusing on the well-being of teachers in the public education system.

There are more than 3.5 million teachers in the US, and US teachers are at high risk of stress, depression, and anxiety. The COVID-19 pandemic introduced even greater stressors for teachers as essential workers.

The overall objective of our project is to generate actionable knowledge and tools, developing a process that school districts can use to promote and protect the well-being of their teachers. This is important not only for teacher health and safety but also to ensure high-quality public education for students.

The TTH project involves several research elements:

  • Phase 1 is a research study within three school districts to quantify associations between demands and resources and teacher mental well-being (e.g., perceived stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms).
  • Phase 2 is a partnership with teachers and schools in Connecticut to adopt the Healthy Workplace Participatory Program (HWPP) and create a Toolkit for the administration that fits within the context of public school systems.
  • Phase 3 is testing the adapted HWPP program among six paired elementary schools.

Innovative aspects of the TTH research include its focus on implementing a replicable and feasible organizational process to improve worker well-being; substantial stakeholder engagement across school organizations including principals, school district administrators, and labor unions; the application of an integrated theory of teacher well-being that incorporates unique aspects of teaching demands and environment; and multiple research elements that will help to inform the development of a tailored program for schools and assess factors for more widespread implementation.

This study is led by UConn Health Associate Professor Jennifer Cavallari, ScD, with co-investigators Lisa Sanetti, PhD from the UConn Neag School of Education and UConn Health Assistant Professor Alicia Dugan, PhD. 

View any of the following materials to learn more about the TTH research project:

Podcasts:

Topic Briefs:

News Articles: