A study on metaphors used by female teachers to describe their work-related stresses and psychological exhaustion: reflecting on potential interventions
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University of Bedfordshire
Submission date: 2019-01-10
Final revision date: 2019-05-01
Acceptance date: 2019-05-02
Online publication date: 2019-12-18
Publication date: 2019-12-18
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University of Bedfordshire
Arch Psych Psych 2019;21(4):72–81
Aim of the study:
The past three decades saw the research development in the field of metaphoric thinking that laid a foundation within cognitive science on which culturally embedded concepts and action tendencies can potentially be explored. The present study aimed to identify female teachers’ perceptions of work-related stresses and emotional challenges in Saudi Arabia.

Subject or material and methods:
Using a qualitative methodology, a semi-structured interview along with two metaphor inventories, namely Stem-Sentence Test (SST) and Metaphor Inventory (MI) were employed to collect data. Forty female teachers participated in this study; 20 newly employed (NE) teachers and 20 teachers who have currently applied for early retirement (ER). Thematic analysis was used to categorise participants’ metaphorical expressions and interpret the extracted themes.

The findings show that there are differences and similarities in metaphors generated by the two groups. ER teachers compared with NE participants tended to have more pessimistic views, negative thoughts and unpleasant feelings towards the teaching profession. They expressed metaphors connected to circular, incomplete and dark thematic dimensions. However, both groups produced metaphors linked with restricted and harmful subthemes which implies the inherent systemic shortcomings in the teaching environment for female teachers.

The findings might suggest clinical and therapy-related implications.

Cognitive and behaviour change through changing metaphors will be reflected upon.