Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

David E. Bartz


The purpose of the study was to investigate the degree of stress principals perceive in the work environment. Specifically this study compared the actual perceived stress experienced on the job with what principals deem to be a reasonable amount of stress. The study was predicated on the research findings that indicate that the amount of stress is relative to a given individual as opposed to being an absolute quality.

A review of the research and literature revealed that few publications have been targeted towards stress and the educational administrator. The implications of job related stress, as it impacts on the effectiveness of the principal, required a more thorough investigation of the stress phenomenon.

A Principal Job Stress Survey questionnaire was developed to gain information concerning a principal’s perceived “actual situation” of stress and what he believes to be a “reasonable situation” pertaining to stress relative to a given factor. This instrument utilized the dual criteria of the interactionist model in identifying the level of stress in each principal. It is hypothesized that the actual and preceived view of the principal in relation to stressors in the environment provided an evaluative result identifying a definite level of stress. The questionnaire was mailed to sixty-one principals in educational service region #11 in Illinois. A response rate of eighty-three percent was obtained.

A dependent t test was utilized to compare the mean actual score with the mean reasonable situation score from the Principal Job Stress Survey for each respondent. Chi square was used to compare observed frequencies by certain categories of respondents to expected frequencies and descriptive statistics such as percentages and frequency counts were also utilized. It was found that:

  1. Nearly one-half (45%) of the principals surveyed experienced significant stress in the work environment.
  2. A diagnostic instrument should be developed which specifically determines whether or not, on an over-all basis, principals are experiencing significant stress and specifically identifies which variables are causing the stress.
  3. The psychological and behavioral disposition of a principal (Type A of Type B) is not significantly related to perceived stress.
  4. Job satisfaction is not significantly related to stress, and it would not be beneficial for principals that have stress to reduce it by focusing on variables related to job satisfaction.
  5. Certain factors intrinsic to the job are a source of stress for most principals. Factor analyses of the principal ratings of job stressors identified four primary categories of job-related factors that cause significant stress:
  1. Excessive workload
  2. Time demands
  3. Interpersonal relations
  4. Disparity between what the principal accomplishes and what he or she would like to achieve

Finally, it was recommended that the group of principals experiencing high work related stress, as well as those individuals experiencing stress from a select number of job-related factors, consult the popular literature concerning stress prevention and coping skills.