The 'other' professors: job insecurity, health and coping strategies among contractual university teachers

Cohen, Linda Ann (2013) The 'other' professors: job insecurity, health and coping strategies among contractual university teachers. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Highly educated "adjunct", "sessional", or "contractual" teachers are temporarily employed throughout Canadian universities to rationalize faculty hiring for cost-effectiveness. They are job insecure. This research centers on the job insecurity of a convenience sample of 32 contractual teachers at a Canadian university during 2008. A combination of qualitative and quantitative research instruments was used in this mixed methods study to explore how, and to what extent, contractual university teaching was job insecure; whether or not this job insecurity was a social determinant of participants' health; and how participants coped with any negative effects of job insecurity on their health. -- Participants expressed varying levels of job insecurity in their interview narratives of work history and experience. They identified three main sources of job insecurity: administrative hiring practices, the terms of their financial compensation, and their status and marginalization in the academic hierarchy. These sources of job insecurity challenged their emotional and to a lesser extent physical health in various ways. Most participants drew on individual strategies to cope with these challenges. They concluded their semi-structured interviews with evaluations of the university's health related programs. -- The interview data were triangulated with participants' demographic information, task diary entries, and results on one or two SF-12 v.2® Health Surveys. In addition to showing how job insecurity was a social determinant of participants' health, the findings address the issues of job insecurity among professional workers, the individualization of health risks and coping strategies, and the adequacy of employer sponsored "wellness" programs for contractual employees. -- Overall, this mixed methods study provides a nuanced and valid understanding of the realities of contractual work for this highly educated sample of university teachers. It adds a unique case to our broader knowledge of job insecurity and health.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10318
Item ID: 10318
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 245-272).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: 2013
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: College teachers--Job stress--Canada; College teachers--Health and hygiene--Canada; Contract labor--Canada; Job security--Canada.

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