Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

First Advisor

Larry Burton

Second Advisor

Lee Davidson

Third Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Abstract

Problem

Private faith-based schools have experienced a severe drop in enrollment over the past few years contributing to perceptions of job insecurity. Especially in the realm of residential secondary education has this observation been true. This descriptive case study investigated perceptions of stress of secondary-school faculty and staff involved with a school-based systemic change implementation in an attempt to turn around the attenuation in enrollment.

Method

This research study followed a bounded mixed-methods case design using data collected as participant observations of the 24 residential secondary-school faculty and staff and tests were performed to show relationships between variables. Tools were selected in an attempt to specify stress symptoms, Efficacy Beliefs, Personality Type, and Health Practices, which might identify and/or contribute to stresses devolving on faculty and staff: Derogatis’s Brief Symptom Inventory, Gibson and Dembo’s Teacher Efficacy Scale, Myers-Briggs’ Personality Type Indicator-Form M, and Pender’s Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile II. The Brief Symptom Inventory was administered at three intervals during one academic year.

Results

Although the population studied was small and predominantly White, Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics were represented. The other demographics were surprisingly evenly spread on the basis of age, gender, education, and experience. Fifty-one statistically significant correlations were discovered between stress symptoms and the other parameters of the study. Similar to other studies related to teacher stress, selfreported stress levels were elevated in spite of efforts to compensate by changes in lifestyle. After the initial testing at Time 1, two personality types indicated statistically significant correlation with elevated stress at Time 2. These changes evaporated at Time 3. The data suggested an attempt to conceal or deny stress symptoms by some participants. Major findings are the shared planning of the innovation and its implementation resulted in buy-in and teacher engagement, teacher collaboration, and teacher initiation of learning opportunities with administration, which appeared to result in a reduction of teacher stress.

Conclusions

There were no correlations between Stress levels and Personality Type at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year, when Stress levels were the lowest. However, during the middle of the school year, when Stress levels were the highest, some correlations were found which indicated a protective effect for those scoring in the Feeling component of Personality Type.

Subject Area

Education change, High school teachers--Job stress, Education, Secondary--Research

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