Psychological distress and associated factors among japanese nursery school and kindergarten teachers: A cross-sectional study

Kozue Yaginuma-Sakurai, Kanami Tsuno, Kouichi Yoshimasu, Tomohide Maeda, Hiroko Sano, Miki Goto, Kunihiko Nakai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The understaffing of nursery schools and kindergartens and the increasing workload of childcare workers are becoming significant issues in Japan. In this study, a cross-sectional survey was conducted to investigate the stress experienced by childcare workers and its antecedents. We distributed 2,640 questionnaires to childcare workers in Miyagi prefecture, obtaining a response rate of 51.9% (n=1,370). Finally, 1,210 valid questionnaires were used in the analysis. As a stress indicator, psychological distress was measured with the Kessler Screening Scale for Psychological Distress (K6). The mean K6 score was 7.0 (SD=5.4), and the prevalence of psychological distress (K6 score ≥5) was 60.0%. Considering work-related factors, the mean scores were as follows: supervisor support 11.8 (2.6), coworker support 12.1 (2.0), work engagement 3.2 (1.2), and effort-reward ratio 0.93 (0.53). A multivariate logistic regression analysis with adjustment for possible confounders revealed that increased psychological distress was associated with higher effort-reward ratio, lower support from supervisors and coworkers, lower work engagement, and insufficient sleep. These results suggest that elevated psychological distress is strongly associated with effort-reward imbal-ance, while high work engagement in childcare workers helped to reduce their distress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-538
Number of pages9
JournalIndustrial Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Childcare workers
  • Coworker support
  • Effort-reward imbalance
  • Psychological distress
  • Supervisor support
  • Work engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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