The early childhood education (ECE) workforce plays a key role in promoting early childhood development by their interactions with young children during formative years. However, the inherent demands of the profession and the work conditions within ECE settings affect job satisfaction and overall health and well-being. This study applied the Job Demands-Resources Model (JD-R) and administered a cross-sectional survey (n=137) to examine disparities in personal and external demands and resources that may impact job satisfaction and turnover rates among ECE staff who provide care for preschool children (3–5 years of age). ECE staff reported higher levels of personal demands, including depression and perceived stress, and external demands, including workload and staffing concerns, compared to the national workforce (all p<.01). The data also illustrated disparities related to resource access; ECE staff reported lower levels of personal resources, including mindfulness, and less access to external resources including safety climate, resource adequacy, role clarity, respect, and management relationships (all p<.01). Only 34% of ECE staff reported being very satisfied with their work compared to 49% of the national workforce (p<.01). External resources were significantly and positively associated with job satisfaction (B=.09, p<.01). These findings suggest that ECE staff experience significantly higher demands and have access to significantly fewer resources in the workplace, and that bolstering job-related resources may translate to increased job satisfaction. (author abstract)
Job demands and resources experienced by the early childhood education workforce serving high-need populations
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