A Comparative Study on Mental Health, Work-related Stress and Work-life Balance in Public Universities in Brazil and Canada

Aims: This paper aims reporting the perception Brazilian and Canadian public universities professors have of the level of stress they experience at work and the perception of their work–life balance, taking into account their workload and the number of hours they usually work per week. Another objective is to test the relations work-related stress and work-life balance might have with the professors’ mental health. The final objective is to compare the perceptions of Brazilian professors with those of Canadian professors, to look for differences.

Study Design: To achieve these objectives, this paper assesses Mental Health, Work-related Stress and Work-Life Balance for professors working in these two countries and test for their differences. The sample consists of 274 Brazilian professors and 252 Canadian professors. Data were collected through an online questionnaire using Survey Monkey Platform. The questionnaire was designed for assessing the following indicators: Psychological Distress, Psychological Well-Being, Workload (physical load, mental load and emotional load), Number of Working Hours per Week, Work-related Stress and Work-Life Balance.

Methodology: Reliability analyses demonstrated that all tested components are consistent to evaluate Mental Health, Work-related Stress, Workload and Work-Life Balance. Pearson correlation analyses was performed among the studied variables or components. Test t was applied to identify significant mean differences between the two samples. Finally, linear regression, step by step, was performed to predict the relationship among the variables.

Results: Correlation analyses showed that Psychological Distress is negatively related to Work-Life Balance. Correlation analyses showed also that Psychological Well-Being is negatively related to Work-related Stress and positively related to Work-Life Balance. There are significant mean differences between Brazilian and Canadian professors in Physical Load, Mental Load, Work-related Stress and Work-Life Balance. However, mean differences for Psychological Distress, Psychological Well-Being, Emotional Load and Number of Working Hours per Week are not statistically different. Linear regression analysis, step by step, controlled for Life Events, showed that Work-related Stress predict 46,2% of the scores of Psychological Distress. Another linear regression also showed that Work-related Stress and Work-Life Balance predict 41% of the scores of Psychological Well-Being.

Conclusion: In summary, we may say that Brazilian professors perceive more work-life balance, but they face more Mental Load to perform their work. Nonetheless, Canadian professors find more Physical Load on their work than Brazilian professors.

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