The Potential Effectiveness of Self-Compassion, Cognitive Emotion Regulation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Training as Stress-Management Strategies for Teachers Working in an International Context

  • Rick Smith

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


This thesis explored the relationships between 1) Self-compassion 2) Cognitive Emotion Regulation and 3) Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and teacher stress in a foreign international school setting. The retrospective, multi-tiered study investigated a total of 177 expatriated teachers working in multiple international schools around the globe; at least 17 of whom indicated that they had completed a MBSR course. A mixed-methods approach was used over three stages utilising the following instruments: 1) an adapted stress impact survey, 2) Teacher Interview Protocol (TIP), 3) the short forms of the Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (CERQ-SF), the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS-SF), and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-4). Results suggest that teachers’ beliefs about stress correlate with job satisfaction; 82.6% of respondents who reported that stress has ‘hardly any effect’ also reported that they liked their job overall; whereas, 76.9% and 36.4% of respondents that believed stress had affected their teaching ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ reported liking their job, respectively. Results also indicate that higher perceived stress is strongly correlated with both 1) decreased self-compassion (r = -.491, p<.001) and 2) increased use of non-adaptive cognitive emotion regulation strategies, such as Catastrophizing (r= <0.392, p< .001). All five adaptive cognitive coping strategies were positively correlated with Self-Compassion, four were significant; only Refocus on Planning failed to reach significance at p<.05. The data indicated no statistically significant differences between MBSR and non-MBSR participants, regarding perceptions of stress (PSS-4), self-compassion (SCS-SF), and eight of the nine coping strategies (CERQ-S), with the exception being that MBSR participants experienced reduced Self-Blame (p < 0.007). Conclusions find that policies and practices aimed at supporting the three aspects of self-compassion offer one possible avenue to reducing teacher stress and maladaptive thinking strategies, and thereby increasing job satisfaction, for teachers working in a foreign country.
Date of Award1 Apr 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJanet Goodall (Supervisor) & Chris James (Supervisor)


  • teacher stress
  • self compassion
  • cognitive emotion regulation
  • International Schools
  • MBSR
  • Mindfulness

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