Factors that contribute to the stress level of middle and secondary school principals

Jessica J Supakhan, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this study was to investigate the common themes middle and secondary school administrators perceive as work-related stressors as indicated by the Administrative Stress Index (ASI). A secondary purpose of this study was to distinguish what middle and secondary school administrators utilize to deal with the high demands and high stress nature of the job as measured by the Roesch Coping Preference Scale (RCPS). The participants in this study included 80 middle and high school principals employed within Rutherford, Williamson, and Cannon Counties of Tennessee. Data were collected via an online survey which consisted of two pre-existing instruments and a set of demographic questions. A factoral multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used to determine if there were any significant differences on each of the stressors and groups on the ASI and Roesch Coping Preference Scale for the categories of: gender, years of experience, age, ethnicity, or educational level. The findings revealed that the top three stressors facing administrators within the Middle Tennessee region include: (a) imposing high expectations upon myself, (b) participating in school activities, and (c) evaluating staff. The top coping preference group revealed that Extra Work Activities (i.e., taking work home and working on weekends) is the top ranked coping preference for principals within this region. A statistically significant difference was found for several different independent variables. The first was principal experience in relation to Recreational/Inactive Activities. Principals with more experience in the profession tend to utilize coping preferences that include planning vacations or listening to music more than those with less experience. Gender was another independent variable that yielded statistically significant differences. The categories of Recreational/Inactive Activities and Extra Work Activities showed that women spend more time taking work home and working on the weekends than their male counterparts as well as coping through listening to music or planning vacations. Age was the final variable that showed a statistically significant difference in relation to Time-Out Techniques. Principals that are younger than sixty years old utilized the coping strategies of taking breaks and changing tasks temporarily much more than those over the age of sixty.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Middle School education|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Jessica J Supakhan, "Factors that contribute to the stress level of middle and secondary school principals" (2013). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3612230.