Psychological stress related factors and the high school athletic director

McGuire, Richard Trainor, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Rotella, Robert J., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Bunker, Linda K., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Gansneder, Bruce, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Chronister, Jay, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

The purpose of this research investigation was to identify psychological stress related factors contributing to the levels of stress perceived by high school athletic directors in the State of Virginia. Specific intentions of this study included: to identify personal characteristics of these athletic directors as well as characteristics of the institutional/programmatic settings. in which they serve; to determine what type of professional events, situations or conditions act as stressors for these individuals, and what effects of stress they report experiencing; to determine the existence of any relationships amongst any of, these specified variables and selected stress related measures; and, to determine the existence of relationships between the stress related measures and some linear combinations of the previously described variables.

To provide the conceptual framework for the investigation, the Model of Athletic Director Stress was created. From this model, the Athletic Director Stress and Coping Inventory" was developed, which served as the data collection instrument for the investigation. This 154 item survey questionnaire was then distributed to all 282 high school athletic directors in the schools holding membership in the Virginia High School League. Of these, 169 of the questionnaires were returned and considered to be complete and usable for the purposes of the research, yielding a response rate of approximately 60%.

Data analysis was conducted at three levels, consistent with the three basic categories of the specific research questions. Descriptive techniques including frequency distributions, means, standard deviations, rankings and principal components factor analyses, Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficients and Step-Wise Multiple Regression Analyses were techniques employed where appropriate to provide analysis of the data obtained.

These findings indicated that athletic directors who perceived their jobs to be more stressful also had greater Total Stressors (r=.43, p < .001), greater Total Chronic Symptoms (r=.39, p < .001) and perceived less job .satisfaction (r= -.18, p < .01) . Total Stressors was directly related to Total Chronic Symptoms (r=.31, p. < .001), while those with greater Total Chronic Symptoms reported poorer health self-ratings (r= -.37, p < .001).

Athletic directors' attitudes, beliefs and orientations toward work and stress were found to be related to perceptions of stress and other stress measures. Evidence was found to suggest the possible mediating role of perceived job satisfaction in determining athletic directors' perceptions of job stress and their experiencing of chronic symptoms. Seven institutional/programmatic variables, all providing a measure of the athletic program's size and complexity were also related to several measures of stress.

The leading stressors identified included not having enough time, demands on family, athletic budget issues and contest supervision. Results of the principal components factor analysis performed on the 35 selected stressor variables revealed four distinct factors of stressors. These were identified as Intra-Program Leadership, Extra-Program Leadership, Coaching Staff and Managerial/Clerical Responsibilities.

Recommendations for future research included providing additional focus on identifying and properly describing stressor factors and other constellations of stress related variables; developing measures of athletic directors' job performance, and probing the relationships between these measures and measures of stress; and, combining related research efforts with attempts to promote, develop and implement appropriate and effective educational professional preparation experiences for athletic directors. It was also suggested that this research investigation be combined with similar investigations currently considering similar issues with other key athletic participants, including athletes, coaches and officials.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Stress (Psychology), High school athletic directors -- Virginia
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