Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Fall 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Strategic Leadership Studies


Benjamin S. Selznick

Karen A. Ford

Steven Purcell


Stress is one of the major factors in teacher attrition, a continuing problem in education. Further contributing to teacher stress are state and federal accountability measures, which put added pressure on schools and teachers to increase student performance. School leaders must navigate not only how to keep pace with these accountability practices, but how to do so in a manner that does not increase the stress on their teachers. To seek answers in how this might be accomplished, this paper investigates the relationship between perceived principal servant leadership characteristics and occupational stress in teachers. Data was collected using the Wilson Stress Profile for teachers (Luh, Olejnik, Greenwood, & Parkay, 1991) and a servant leadership scale adapted from leadership research in the business literature (Ehrhart, 2004) from elementary teachers in schools in Virginia not meeting state accountability benchmarks. Findings demonstrate that having higher levels of perceived servant leadership was associated with lower levels of reported stress after controlling for several demographic and behavioral covariates. These results indicate that developing servant leadership characteristics in principals could be a means to alleviate some of the occupational stress teachers feel, particularly in schools that are struggling to meet accountability benchmarks.



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