Date of Award

1-1-1993

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr. S. B. Jongeling

Second Advisor

Dr. N. H. Hyde

Third Advisor

Dr.L. H. King

Abstract

The aim of this study is to investigate the prevalence and sources of self- reported occupational stress among primary school teachers in Western Australian Government schools. Five specific objectives form the basis of this study. First, the study develops an instrument which measures the perceived levels of occupational stress and reveals the sources of such stress. Second, the study applies this instrument to determine the perceived levels, and sources, of occupational stress among primary school teachers in metropolitan Perth. Third, the study investigates differences in the perceptions of stress and stressors when categorised by socio-biographical characteristics of teachers. Fourth, the study investigates the relationship between occupational stress and satisfaction. Fifth, path analysis techniques are used to test the adequacy of a stress-stressor model derived from a priori assumptions and temporal sequence. A qualitative meta-analysis reveals characteristics of the literature which discursive reviews may omit. Such characteristics include trends in research interest in the topic of teacher stress over time and geographical area, the balance between types of studies, the relationship between types of studies, aspects of teacher stress and geographical area, findings of the studies, and determining categories into which the findings can be examined. Definitions of stress and burnout, definitions of teacher stress and teacher burnout, reasons for concern about teacher stress and teacher burnout, the prevalence of stress in the teaching profession, sources of stress in the teaching profession, perceptions of stress and stressors when categorised by socio-biographical characteristics, and the relationship between stress and occupational satisfaction are the areas from which information is accessed for the literature review. Prior to the development of a conceptual framework, the purpose of such a framework is discussed. The conceptual framework itself is developed from two broad areas. These include teacher stress and corporate management theory. The role of and contribution made by the present study to each of these areas is explained. The methodology of the present study is discussed in six broad areas. These include the preparatory phase, the sampling procedure, development of the research instrument ethical considerations, data collection, and data analysis. The process of structural equation or causal modelling forms the final section of this chapter. The outcomes which emerged from the study are analysed in relation to both the quantitative and qualitative data obtained during the investigation. In respect to the former these outcomes include the prevalence of stress among the teachers who participated in the study, differences in the numbers of responses in stress level categories, the perceived sources of stress, the identification of stress factors, differences In responses to perceptions of stress and stress factors when categorised by socio-biographical characteristics, analyses of the multi-item scales used in research instrument, the relationship between occupational stress, satisfaction and attitude towards teaching, and the development of a causal model of teacher stress. The qualitative information is discussed initially in terms of the socio-biographical characteristics of the teachers who were interviewed, as well as their perceived levels of occupational stress and satisfaction. Other information which is examined includes the perceived attitude of the Ministry of Education and/or Government of Westem Australia towards teachers, the nature of the identified stressful events, the incremental nature of normally non-stressful events, assessment of the research instrument and other information obtained during the data collection phase. The study concludes by summarising the entire research process, making implications based on the findings and suggesting areas for further research.

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