Management related occupational stress and coping strategies among secondary school principals in Mwingi west district, Kitui county, Kenya
Kimanzi, Grace Kalungwa
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This research study investigated the management related occupational stress and coping strategies among secondary school principals in Mwingi West District. It looked at the nature of management related stress, the source of management related stress, the impact of management related occupational stress on administrative roles among secondary school principals and the intervention measures to stress. The research study employed a descriptive survey design and made use of both qualitative and quantitative approaches to collect information on management related occupational stress and coping strategies among school principals. The target population of the study comprised the District Education officer (DEO), secondary school Principals and the schools‟ Heads of Departments (HODs). Purposive sampling technique was used to select the study area, schools, the DEO and principals who were involved in the study. Both simple random sampling and purposive sampling were used to select HODs. The sample population consisted of 10 Principals, 40 HODs and the DEO. Three instruments were used to collect data which included two questionnaires; one for district education officer and another one for heads of departments. An interview schedule was used on the Principals. The research instruments were piloted on a small representative sample identical to but not including the group that was involved in the actual study. The pilot study was done to ensure that the items consistently measured the variables in the study and produced reliable results. A validity coefficient was computed by correlating measurements from two instruments. Descriptive statistics was used for data analysis in this study where the data was presented by use of frequency tables and percentages. The study identified Physical fatigue, psychological distress, emotional and mental disturbances as the types of management related occupational stress experienced by principals in secondary schools. The sources of management related occupational stress were identified as: students‟ indiscipline, too many expectations and many responsibilities, financial constrains, curriculum supervision and implementation, political interference, mandatory and compliant work, inadequate and unqualified administrative staff and complex learner needs. The study also identified various effects of management related occupational stress on principals administrative roles which included; negligence of administrative roles, time wastage, strained relations with staff, decrease in administration satisfaction and increased administrator turnover. On the part of the strategies used in the management of occupational stress, the study found out that the principals employed practices such as: practice of good time management, setting of priorities, talking to someone and attending social gatherings, taking time for leisure and rest, alternating of heavy work with light work, taking counseling, taking sleeping pills and mood altering drugs, and offering prayers and Bible reading. Based on these findings, it was recommended that principals should be equipped with knowledge on the nature of management related occupational stress as well as the stress coping strategies in order to mitigate the effects of the stressors in their daily activities. It was also recommended to the policy makers and implementers to come up with strategies for moderating the effects of stressors in the course of formulating and implementing educational policies so as to avoid management related occupational stress among principals.