A Correlational Study of Transformational Leadership Characteristics and Perceived Stress of Christian School Administrators

Secondary Education    Principals/Superintendents

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TITLE: A Correlational Study of Transformational Leadership Characteristics and Perceived Stress of Christian School Administrators
RESEARCHER: William F. Truby
Kent State University
Department of Educational Psychology and
Leadership Studies (Graduate School of Education)
Doctoral Dissertation: November 1992

To investigate the relationship between administrators' style of leadership and their levels of perceived stress.

The population consisted of secondary schools, with at least 150 students, from the Association of Christian Schools International Membership Directory in the mid-america region (N=424). Thirty were randomly selected and 25 participated. In addition to the LPI, these school principals completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach & Jackson, 1986), and provided demographic data. Teachers within each school completed the LPI-Observer (N=195).

The typical principal was between 31 and 50 years of age (88%), male (96%), held a master's degree (65%), and had 4-10 years of administrative experience (60%). Two-thirds of the schools had between 200-400 students and two-thirds of the principals had been at these schools 4-10 years.

These principals' LPI-Self scores were similar to the LPI normative sample, except for being higher in Inspiring. Compared to the normative sample, the teachers' LPI-Observer scores for these principals were significantly higher on Inspiring and Modeling. "The participating principals in this study, as reflected in self and others' ratings, did not reveal many strong or significant tendencies toward transformational leadership"(119).

For principals on the stress instrument, Encouraging and Challenging were positively correlated with personal accomplishment and Encouraging was negatively correlated with depersonalization. No significant correlations were found between stress and the principals' leadership practices as perceived by teachers (LPI-Observers).

LPI-Self scores were unrelated to age, years of experience, tenure at school, educational level (except for a positive relationship with Enabling), or school size (except for a positive relationship with Modeling). Only six of 30 correlations between LPIObserver scores and demographic characteristics were significant: Younger administrators were seen as Challenging, Inspiring, and Enabling more than their older counterparts; more experienced principals were seen as less Inspiring and Enabling than less experienced principals; and administrators in larger schools were lower in Enabling.