Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

August 1994


The purpose of this study was to determine the extent that public school principals in Tennessee perceived their jobs as stressful, to identify the major sources of job-related stress within the school environment, to determine the coping strategies most often used by principals to manage occupational stress, and to relate the findings to certain demographic characteristics. The need for stress management education among the principals was also ascertained. The data collected in this study revealed that a majority of the principals (78%) perceived their jobs as moderately to extremely stressful, and approximately 70% of the principals indicated that 70% or more of their total life stress was attributed to their jobs. The results of this study revealed there were situations in school organizations that created stress in principals. Of the 35 situations used in the study, the job-demands related to Administrative Constraints and Interpersonal Relations were perceived as most stressful. "Trying to resolve parent/school conflicts" received the highest mean frequency among the principals. The results of this study indicated that certain coping strategies were employed more frequently than others by principals in their attempt to manage stress. Strategies related to Consulting Techniques and Extra Work Activities were more often preferred by principals with four of the five highest-ranked strategies coming from these two areas. Demographic variables of the respondents were used to determine if there were relationships between stress level, stressors, and coping strategies; significant relationships were found to exist. Additionally, analysis of multiple linear regression revealed that the culminating effect of the principals' demographic characteristics contributed no more than 16% to the prediction of the principals' level of occupational stress, sources of stress, and coping preferences. The data in this study indicated there was a need for stress management education among principals in Tennessee with 91% of the principals reporting a need for stress management education. Of the principals surveyed, 95% had received little or no stress management education, and a majority of the principals (85%) were employed by school districts that did not provide any structured stress management seminars for its personnel.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access