Revisiting Effects of Cognitive and Non-cognitive Teacher Characteristics on Stress: A Virtual Reality Study

Lisa Bardach, Yizhen Huang, Eric Richter, Rob Klassen, Dirk Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identifying personal characteristics associated with teachers’ stress is a longstanding research goal with important implications for practice. The present work revisits the effects of cognitive (intelligence) and non-cognitive (neuroticism, classroom management self -efficacy) teacher characteristics on stress using virtual reality (VR). Relying on a sample of 56 German pre-service teachers (Mage = 22.73, SD age = 4.93; 50.9% females), we capitalized on a VR classroom environment that allowed the integration of experimental control and authentic teaching situations, where pre-service teachers responded to the disruptive behaviors of the student avatars. We focused on stress responses in terms of psychological stress (self reported stress) assessed after the VR session, and physiological stress (heart rate) assessed during the VR. Results from linear mixed effects models revealed that neuroticism positively predicted psychological and physiological stress responses in pre-service teachers. Classroom management self-efficacy and intelligence were not significantly related to stress responses. This study underlines the value of VR as a tool for psychological research. Our findings contribute to existing knowledge on teacher characteristics and stress, and support the adoption of a personality psychology perspective to better understand teachers’ stress in challenging situations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusSubmitted - 2023

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