Date of Award

6-1988

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Robert L. Williams

Committee Members

William A. Poppen, Robert G. Wahler, Donald J. Dickinson

Abstract

The concept of stress and its relationship to events relevant to the profession of school psychology was investigated. The purpose of this descriptive study was to investigate the relationship between the relative frequency of stressful events related to school psychology and their overall ranking as to degree of stressfulness, with exercise considered as a moderating variable.

The survey research method was utilized. Surveys were mailed to a sample of 281 school psychologists, primarily within the state of Tennessee. The instrument included a modified version of Wise's (1985) School Psychologists and Stress Inventory which allowed each of 35 potentially stressful events to be rated, using a Likert-type scale, both as to the degree of stress associated with the event, and as to its reported frequency of occurrence as experienced by the psychologist. The survey also included an assessment of exercise habits utilizing a seven-day recall procedure developed by Blair (1984). Demographic data were collected and reported on eleven separate variables.

An overall response rate of 84.6% was obtained from the survey. Rankings, means and standard deviations of the stressful events were reported in each of three separate categories: potential amount of stress reported, frequency of occurrence of the events, and amount of stress actually experienced. Spearman rank-order and Pearson product-moment correlations were used in the data analysis.

It was hypothesized that stressful events occurring more frequently would result in higher item rankings of stressfulness than events occurring less frequently. This prediction was not supported. It was also hypothesized that subjects with higher mean frequency scores would have higher perceived stressfulness ratings. This prediction was supported by the study. Finally, a third hypothesis, that involvement in a regular exercise program would result in lower overall perceived stressfulness ratings, was supported for those subjects who were at least moderately active. The school psychologists indicated that they considered their positions as moderately stressful.

These outcomes are discussed, and suggestions are included for future research.

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