Impact of work schedule characteristics on teacher mental health and burnout symptoms while remote working

Jennifer M. Cavallari, Jennifer L. Garza, Natalie R. Charamut, Cheyenne Szarka, Spencer D. Perry, Rick A. Laguerre, Lisa M.H. Sanetti, Alicia G. Dugan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers quickly shifted to remote teaching with many teachers experiencing increased work demands with limited resources, affecting both mental health and work. Methods: Within a cross-sectional study, we evaluated the relationship between one type of work demand, non-standard work schedule characteristics, and depressive and burnout symptoms in kindergarten through 8th grade U.S. teachers working remotely in May 2020. We further assessed the impact of COVID-19 and work resources. Work schedule characteristics were self-assessed across six domains on a 5-point frequency scale from always (1) to never (5). We used multilevel Poisson models to calculate prevalence ratios (PRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: In fully adjusted models, frequently working unexpectedly was associated with a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms (PR = 1.18, 95% CI = 1.07–1.31, p < 0.01), high emotional exhaustion (PR = 1.17, 95% CI = 1.05–1.30, p < 0.01), and high depersonalization (PR = 1.40, 95% CI = 1.02–1.92, p = 0.03). Remote work resources were significantly associated with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms (PR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.79–0.98, p = 0.02). There was a linear association between low coworker support and a low sense of personal accomplishment (PR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.53–0.87, p < 0.01). Conclusions: Frequently having to work unexpectedly while remote teaching was associated with symptoms of depression and burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic. Workplaces should support predictable working times to lessen the disruption caused by unexpected work to promote worker well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-896
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • educators
  • mental health
  • remote work
  • work demands
  • work schedule


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of work schedule characteristics on teacher mental health and burnout symptoms while remote working'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this