Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.
Educational Administration and Higher Education
School of Education
Dr. John Eller
Dr. Kay Worner
Dr. Roger Worner
Dr. Nicholas Miller
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Principal Stress Factors
The purpose of this study was to examine stress and coping factors of select Minnesota secondary school principals. The study also intended to examine differences in job stresses experienced by male and female secondary school principals, strategies employed by select Minnesota secondary school principals to cope with job stresses, varied strategies used to cope with job stresses employed by male and female secondary school principals in Minnesota, and the manner in which job stresses of select Minnesota secondary school principals change as a function of position longevity.
It is imperative to examine stressors in the lives of administrators and the strategies used to cope with those stresses. If those stressors are not examined and addressed, stressors may well lead to personal suffering and job ineffectiveness (Vanderpol, 1981). [A] substantial amount of research indicates that principals experience a high level of stress due to the variety of tasks performed in their diverse roles (Whitaker, 1996). High levels of stress can lead to burnout which, in turn, can lead to emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced feelings of personal accomplishment (Maslach and Jackson, 1986).
According to the research, principals must be able to establish clear lines of authority, clear job descriptions, realistic system wide goals and objectives, have training in conflict resolution, and be able to organize personal support groups (Kottkamp and Mansfield, 1985). Understanding the role of the principal and the stress that he or she faces diminishes the likelihood of principal burnout.
The research design employed quantitative methods. Study data were gathered through the use of the Administrative Stress Index (ASI) survey developed by Walter Gmelch and Boyd Swent. The study’s sample group was identified from among members listed on the membership database of the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP). Study data were collected using SurveyMonkey.
Data from 200 principals were analyzed to examine stresses and coping strategies reported by select Minnesota secondary school principals. Using analysis of variance calculations, demographic variables, stress factors and coping strategies were analyzed to determine statistically significant relationships.
Statistics were analyzed to determine the mean value of the respondents’ answers to the 35 work related situations that were sources of concern. The researcher used the framework of Gmelch and Gate (1998), which identified four causes of stress: role-based, task-based, boundary spanning, and conflict mediating stress. The researcher categorized the 35 work-related situations in the ASI into one of Gmelch and Gate’s categories. In addition, information was gathered from an open-ended question about sources of concern of job stresses experienced by principal respondents.
Findings from the study reported, that overall, principals were rarely bothered by the work-related situations as identified by the Administrative Stress Index. However, the research literature does suggest that principals face large amounts of stress, and it is imperative they develop strategies to cope with stressful situations. Effective coping strategies aid principals in avoiding emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment; this in turn will reduce burnout and maintain efficacy on a professional organizational manner.
Perry, Trish M., "Stress and Coping Strategies Among Minnesota Secondary School Principals" (2016). Culminating Projects in Education Administration and Leadership. 13.