Novice Administrators: Psychological and Physiological Effects.Report as inadecuate

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Novice school administrators find that demands for excellence have grown while budgets have shrunk. This paper reports on a study that examined the stress levels of beginning administrators. Two of the key questions for the study--Is the stress experienced by new school administrators manageable or out of control? and Does the job put beginning school administrators at risk?--were answered by determining if new administrators experience measurable changes in blood pressure. For the research, 43 beginning school administrators (25 females, 32 Caucasians, 9 African-Americans, 2 Hispanics) were monitored over a 3-year period. Sixteen of the administrators were principals, 14 were assistant principals, and 13 were based at the central office. The study was conducted in a large Midwestern megalopolis. Results based on measurements of systolic and diastolic blood pressure indicate a significant main effect for systolic pressure and ethnicity. The average mean systolic pressure score for African-Americans exhibited a dramatic increase. There were no significant differences for systolic pressure between genders. An analysis of change in diastolic pressure yielded a significant main effect: all beginning administrators, both building-based and those in the central office, demonstrated a significant increase in diastolic pressure, suggesting that all novices were vulnerable. Contains 22 references. (RJM)

Descriptors: Administrator Behavior, Administrators, Assistant Principals, Beginning Principals, Elementary Secondary Education, Hypertension, Longitudinal Studies, Psychological Patterns, Psychophysiology, School Administration, Stress Variables

Author: Schmidt, Linda J.; Kosmoski, Georgia J.; Pollack, Dennis R.


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