Special education teacher stress: Coping strategies

Edward J. Cancio, Ross Larsen, Sarup Mathur, Mary Bailey Estes, Bev Johns, Mei Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Little is known about stress perception and perceived coping mechanisms used by special educators. This article presents a study with 211 special educators to determine how they deal with stress. Participants completed a survey reporting stressors and coping skills. Special educators reported stress in their positions. Increased caseloads, multiple roles, pressures for student achievement, student behavior, and worries about the existence of their positions can cause this stress. In general, the findings indicate that special educators experience work-related stress that interferes with their quality of work. Most special educators employ adaptive strategies in dealing with stress. In addition to presenting the study results, this article presents implications for school administrators and teacher educators that can increase special educators’ understanding about job stress and its relationship with work manageability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-482
Number of pages26
JournalEducation and Treatment of Children
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018



  • Coping strategies
  • Special educators
  • Stress
  • Teacher stress
  • Teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Cancio, E. J., Larsen, R., Mathur, S., Estes, M. B., Johns, B., & Chang, M. (2018). Special education teacher stress: Coping strategies. Education and Treatment of Children, 41(4), 457-482. https://doi.org/10.1353/etc.2018.0025