An Investigation of Perceived Principal Stress and Its Impact on Principals in Southwest Georgia

Date of Award





Doctor of Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership


The purpose of the study was to determine to what extent southwest Georgia principals perceive they are stressed, identify principal stressors and how the stressors impact the principals’ work. Principals are leaders of school building who are experiencing increased stress. Therefore; it is important to understand what causes principal stress as well as how the stressors impact principal work. Principals are expected to maintain building safety, student safety, student achievement, retention of quality teachers, as well as act as instructional leaders. The mixed method study of public elementary school principals was conducted in four southwest Georgia school districts. The researcher gathered demographic data as well as conducted a Perceived Stress Survey, Stressor Survey, and semi-structured interviews. The researcher used a three-round Delphi Method to analyze the Stressors Survey to develop a consensus of greatest stressors among participating principals. The major findings of the study indicated 67% of the southwest Georgia principals perceived they experienced medium to high levels of stress. The major causes of stress were workload, increased job demands, time constraints, paperwork/reports, accountability, bureaucracy, discipline, and finance. The impact of the stressors were identified as accountability measures such as teacher evaluations were ineffective and timely, discipline and paperwork prevents principals from being instructional leaders, central office policies and procedures impact principals’ time in their buildings, and workload and time constraints cause principals to work late or take work home thus impacting family time.

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