Occupational stress and coping mechanisms as perceived by the directors of adult literacy educational programs in Texas
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The purpose of this study was to identify and assess the stressors and coping mechanisms related to job performance as perceived by directors of adult literacy education programs in Texas. This research also attempted to determine whether there were relationships between: specific demographic variables and job related stressors; and those same demographic variables and coping mechanisms of adult literacy education program administrators in Texas. A survey instrument was sent to all adult literacy education program directors in Texas in June, 2002. Demographic information, as well as information regarding types of stressors, and coping strategies used by those program directors was collected and analyzed. Major findings for the study indicated: 1. A majority of adult literacy education program directors in Texas experienced a significant level of occupational stress and a high overall general stress level. 2. The top stressors identified by the program directors were: Data Collection/Analysis, Statewide Accountability System, Development/ Maintenance of School Budget, Funding Related Issues, Student Achievement, Technology Related Issues, Administration of Programs for Special Students, Selection of Faculty and Staff, Dealing with Unsatisfactory Performance by Professional Staff, Dismissal of a Teacher or Staff Member.3. The major stress-coping mechanisms employed by the program directors were Planning ahead for stressful events and Communication with significant others or peers. 4. Program directors with greater adult education experience have a lower level of occupational stress compared to less experienced program directors. Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations are made: 1.To address the sources of stress related to data collection, statewide accountability, and program budgets, training should be made available for administrators to improve their understanding and competencies to handle these demands. 2. Implementation of a system or network in which program directors could share problems, insights, and help one another address problems similar to what they may encounter in their jobs would strengthen the whole adult literacy education system in Texas. 3. Communication and leadership in long range planning is necessary from the state office to assist program directors in planning ahead for stressful events.
Austin, Melinda Weatherford (2003). Occupational stress and coping mechanisms as perceived by the directors of adult literacy educational programs in Texas. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from