Socio-Demographic Background, Social Support and Depression Levels among Undergraduate Prospective Teachers in Trinidad and Tobago
Center for Education, University of Trinidad and Tobago
Institute for Criminology and Public Safety, University of Trinidad and Tobago
Teachers experience high levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Teacher training programmes provide a critical professional development window influencing practice, and therefore, an understanding of the relationship between the dispositional and emotional states of pre-service teachers remains vital. The purposes of the current study were to: (i) explore levels of depression among prospective teachers in Trinidad and Tobago, (ii) explore variations in the levels of depression among prospective teachers based on demographic factors including age, sex, ethnicity, marital status, student status, and religious affiliation and; (iii) determine if perceived social support from family, friends and significant others play a role in their depressive symptomatologies. Using the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) and the Beck’s Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) to survey students across a four year teacher training programme, the study found that there was a moderately strong relationship between social support and depression. However, this relationship differed based on the providers of social support. Additional examinations of socio-demographic factors suggested that the significance of social support also depends on sex, religious affiliation, and family structures of students. These factors also produced differences between sex and minimal levels of depression, family structure and mild depression, and marital status and moderate depression.