The perceptions of stress among faculty members in higher education at six selected Tennessee State Board of Regents universities

Thelma Smith Patterson Sanders, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this study was to research university faculty members' perceptions of stress and their methods of coping with stress. There were 166 faculty members consisting of deans, department heads, and teachers in Schools of Education who participated in this study from the following universities: Austin Peay State University, East Tennessee State University, Memphis State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, and Tennessee Technological University. Demographic data include age, sex, marital status, ethnic background, tenure, and academic rank. The "Stress and Stress Management" questionnaire perfected by Dr. Anthony Saville was used to make three determinations: (a) what the respondents perceived as causes of illnesses related to stress, i.e., personal health data; (b) perceptions of stress factors; and (c) strategies used to manage stress. The hypothesis posed the following questions: (a) Were there differences in the perceptions of the causes of stress of individuals in this study? (b) Were there differences in the ways that individuals managed stress? Data were determined to be statistically significant at.05 level using cross tabulations with chi-square tests. The results showed that the greatest stress related health problems were hypertension, migraine headaches, tension headaches, and ulcers. The highest perceived stress factor reported by all the groups, except the tenured and nontenured group, was publishing. The most reported method used to reduce stress was participation in exercise activities. The recommendations included: (1) University administrators should provide their faculty and staff with better processes for dealing with stress in their work place. (2) University administrators should recognize the value of teaching and place less importance on publishing. (3) Good teaching should be considered to be as valuable as publishing. Teachers should be recognized for excellent teaching and not be penalized for the lack of publishing. (4) Universities should consider how students may be affected by faculty stress. (5) Stress management classes should be in the required curriculum for all university students. (6) Methods should be implemented to relieve faculty members of responsibilities in addition to teaching such as advising, research, and publishing. (7) There should be ways for faculty members to make the administration of the universities aware of factors that are perceived as being stressful.

Subject Area

Health education|Occupational psychology

Recommended Citation

Thelma Smith Patterson Sanders, "The perceptions of stress among faculty members in higher education at six selected Tennessee State Board of Regents universities" (1989). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI9017229.