Understanding Principal Perceptions of Stress and Burnout: A Qualitative Case Study in North Texas School Districts
Description: This qualitative case study examined principals' perceptions regarding stress and burnout, investigated perspectives regarding ways to alleviate chronic stress, and analyzed the extent to which future role expectations are related to chronic stress and feelings of burnout. Perceptions of eight elementary principals in large, suburban school districts who experienced similar professional preparation prior to receiving their first principalship were analyzed. Participants, identified through criterion sampling, completed a demographic survey and then participated in a one-on-one interview with the researcher. Once data were collected, interviews were transcribed and analyzed to determine categories and themes. Findings revealed that participants struggle with significant stress in six specified domains: school type, students, parents and community, staff, district personnel, and other. Half of participants perceive that their stress will rise during the next five to ten years. Thirty-eight percent predicted that job stress will decline in the coming years, though they do not believe that identified stress factors will decrease. Instead, they believe that factors such as experience will help them to deal more effectively with the same challenges. Furthermore, 63% of participants do not plan to remain in their current principalship until retirement. All participants reported current personal stress-management strategies that fall into the categories of work-home balance or healthy habits. In campus-specific strategies, 63% focused on staff morale-building opportunities. Finally, 38% of participants did not feel that their district provides strategies that assist in the management of principalship stress.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Lovell, Joy E
Partner: UNT Libraries