The study included six departments, with two employees at each department, characterized by high levels of stress and burnout and six departments, with two employees at each department, characterized by low levels of stress andburnout. A total of 24 females with a mean age of 43.5 years participated in the study. The employees rated stress at work and burnout by use of different questionnaires. Cortisol samples were collected at wake up, one hour afterwake up, at 11:00 am and at 09:00 pm. An observation study was made to create an overview of the interactionbetween the children and the personnel during periods described as overloading.
More than 50% of the employees stated that all members of the staff did not have equal commitment to the work. About 8% considered this stressful to a high degree. More than half found their increased administrative work task as stressful to a high degree. Half of the personnel felt it stressful to a high degree, not being able to give all the children the attention they needed.
The highest stressors regarding the organization of the work were when conflicts occurred among the personnel. The highest stressors regarding noise were the children´s voices closely followed by noise when changing the children´sclothes. The highest stressor regarding the constitution of the child group was when the personnel experienced that they had a child in the group they thought needed special support. In general, the high stress group rated all stressors as higher compared to the low stress group. Significant differences were pronounced among stressors regarding“organization of the work” and “work situations”. The results also indicate that individuals who are highly stressed by noise from the childrens activities rated their rewards as lower. The high stress group had more communications to and from the children, both before lunch and during lunch.
An essential conclusion, is also that noise and noise sources, may impair the work situation of the employees fundamentally, thereby increasing the stress levels. It is assumed that noise exposures in the preschool, isolated or in combination with other stressor, plays a fundamental role in the building up acute as well as long term stress. One of the stand points of the study is that overloaded communication between the personnel and children might be a pronounced factor behind the situational and longterm stress.