Voice Symptoms and Wellbeing in Teachers Working in England

Sharp, Emily (2021) Voice Symptoms and Wellbeing in Teachers Working in England. Masters thesis, Birmingham City University.

Emily Sharp MPhil Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Jan 2021_Final Award Aug 2021.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (2MB)


The literature indicates that teachers are at greater risk of getting voice problems than the general population. In order to help prevent and treat voice problems, research has been undertaken to identify risk factors. Negative psychological factors such as depression and common mental disorders have been found to be associated with voice problems in teachers. However, there is little research with teachers that investigates the relationship between positive psychological factors such as wellbeing and voice problems. Although negative and positive mental states are on a continuum of psychological health, they are measuring separate constructs and thus need to be investigated separately.

The primary objective of this study was to explore the relationship between voice symptoms and wellbeing in teachers working in primary and secondary schools in England. The study also examined the association between other risk factors and voice symptoms.

A cross sectional study was conducted between November 2017 and February 2018 using web-based self-administered questionnaires to collect data. All schools in England, including independent fee-paying schools, were invited to participate. Information was obtained on symptoms, wellbeing, health, lifestyle, sociodemographic factors and environmental factors. Voice symptoms were measured using The Voice Symptom Scale (VoiSS) and wellbeing was measured using the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS). Analysis was conducted using a linear multi-level regression model.

A total of 1205 teachers from 608 schools participated. Participants were primarily female (80%), white (93%) with a mean age of 39. The mean score on the VoiSS was 23 and the median was 20. A statistically significant negative relationship between voice symptoms and wellbeing was identified (-0.31 95% CI -0.41, -0.20P=<0.001). Other factors found to be statistically significantly associated with voice symptoms were age (0.10 95% CI 0.02, 0.18 P= 0.015) and the likelihood of having gastroesophageal reflux (1.29 95% CI 0.87, 1.70 P=<0.001). VoiSS scores were significantly lower for male teachers (-3.48 95%CI -5.59,-1.37 P=0.001), for teachers who never spoke over background noise (-5.39 95%CI -9.19, -1.61 P=0.005), teachers who never spoke louder than normal (-11.35 95% CI -15.73, -6.98 P=<0.001) or sometimes spoke louder than normal (-8.23 95%CI -11.26, -5.20 P=<0.001) and teachers who taught in smaller class sizes (-2.21 95% CI -3.99, -0.43 P=0.015). Teachers with a respiratory infection not confirmed by a doctor had significantly higher VoiSS scores compared to those with no respiratory infection (6.23 95% CI 3.76, 8.77 P=<0.001), whereas teachers who had a respiratory infection confirmed by a doctor had lower VoiSS scores compared to those with no respiratory infection (-4.15 95% CI -5.91, -2.39 P=<0.001). Number of years teaching, hours teaching per week, deprivation of school, voice training, teaching subject, smoking and asthma were not associated with voice symptoms.

This study suggests that there is an association between vocal symptoms and wellbeing in school teachers in England. These findings indicate that teachers vocal functioning may be improved by enhancing their wellbeing. Thus, schools implementing strategies focussed on wellbeing may be beneficial.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
29 January 2021Submitted
10 August 2021Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Voice Symptoms, School Teachers, Voice Problems, Wellbeing, Risk factors
Subjects: CAH02 - subjects allied to medicine > CAH02-06 - allied health > CAH02-06-01 - health sciences (non-specific)
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2022 13:11
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2022 13:11
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13456

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


In this section...