Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)


School of Education

Degree Name



This study investigated differences between regular and special education teachers in an urban inner-city public school system in stress factors related to teaching assignments. Self-contained special education teachers and regular teachers of elementary classrooms responded to the Chronic Work-Related Stress Evaluation Instrument by John D. Adams.

The ex post facto design was employed. Questionnaire responses of 16 regular and 16 special subjects were utilized in the study. The instruments were distributed and collected by the investigator through identification of the sample through school rosters and the membership affiliation for special teachers in the local chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children.

The twenty-five items of the survey were coded in a five-point scale. Response data were statistically analyzed using the t-test for significance at the .05 level of significance. Five of the items were found to be at or beyond the criterion level: 8) DI get feedback only when my performance is unsatisfactory; 11) I must attend meetings to get mY job done; 3) 17) The people I work with closely are trained in a field that is different from mine; 18) I must go to other departments to get my work done; and 25) I do not receive meaningful work assignments.

Implications drawn from the study were:

1. Administrators may fail to recognize that teachers need positive reinforcement essential to their morale instead of negative feedback only when teacher performance is unsatisfactory.

2. Although both regular education teachers and special education teachers attend meetings, special education teachers are required to attend many meetings because of the provisions of P.L. 9-142 as well as other state, federal, and local mandates of legislation which impact on their job function.

3. Stress associated with special education teachers working with professionals trained in different professional areas may interfere with their optimal performance in the most critical aspects of their roles.

4. Principals, supervisors, consultants, and lead teachers should recognize that those teachers who are frequently required to go from their immediate work invironment to another in order to perform their jobs may experience stress.

5. Teachers indicating that they do not receive meaningful work assignments may be linked to the administrative style of a particular school building principal and bow she/he perceives his power and authority.

The following recommendations were proposed:

1. There is a need for more definitive research that seeks to determine how stress affects teachers in the performance of their profeSSional duties.

2. There is a need for more research to develop alternative methods and techniques of studying reported and real stress and its relationship to Public Law 94-142 mandates.

3. Workshops need to be conducted to determine which preventive methods are most beneficial in alleviating chronic stress among educators. Teachers, intent on maintaining their classroom effectiveness, should be aware of stress as a potential problem.

4. The special education department should provide inservice training programs for the teachers and administrators concerning how to identify the causes of stress and symptoms of the chronio stress syndrome.

5. The support of the administration should be solicited regarding stress reduction workshops and on-going case study conferences geared not just to student crises, but more importantly, to long-term expression of teacher needs, concerns, and interests.

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