The nature of stress amongst urban school administrators

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Watters, Janice Gail
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This study examines the working conditions of ten urban school administrators in one school division in Manitoba in order to examine the nature of their job-related stress. Hiebert and Basserman's (1986) definition of stress is utilized, that stress is the result when the demands of a given situation exceed an individual's coping skills. Are administrators experiencing stress? If so, what is the nature of this stress, and how are administrators coping with the demands placed upon them? What are the supports/sources of direction utilized by administrators, and what are the more stressful times of the school year? This study used both logbooks and interview technique to compile data. The method employed by Lam and Cormier (1998) was replicated here. Administrators recorded calls/contacts they initiated with the school division office, in a logbook format over a three month period. These calls/contacts were categorized under an eight cell typology developed by Lam (1988). In this study, administrators were also interviewed in order to obtain their perceptions regarding job-related stress. Administrators reported a low amount of stress. They appear to be coping with the demands placed upon them. Study participants described a number of supports/sources of direction they utilize. Stressful times of the year, as reported by the administrators include April, May and September. Urban administrators called/contacted their div sion office for similar reasons to those found in Lam and Cormier's (1998) study of rural administrators. This study did not find a relationship between the number of calls/contacts made and the amount of stress reported by the administrators.