This study examined the perceived influence of Administrator's Stress Management practices and teachers’ task performance in secondary schools in Abia State. The study was guided by six research questions and six null hypotheses. It adopted descriptive survey design. The instrument used for data collection was perceived influence of Administrator's stress management practices and teachers' task performance questionnaire (PLASPTTPQ). The instrument was validated by three experts, two from Department of Educational Management and planning and one from Department of Science Education all from College of Education, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike. The instrument for data  were collected by the researcher with the help of three (3) research assistants. Out of the fifty copies of questionnaires administered 42 representing 84 percent of the instrument distribution were returned and used for data analysis. Reliability index of 0.79 using Cronbach Alpha was obtained for the instrument. Data obtained for the study were analyzed using mean and standard deviation for the research questions and the hypotheses were tested using t-test for independent means at 0.05 level of significance. It was found from the result of data analysis that Administrator's stress management practices influence teacher's task performance. It was then recommended that adequate provision of teaching facilities be made by the stakeholders among others. From the findings it was recommended among others, that similar study should be carried out in other states of the federation. Also, a correctional study between administrators stress management practice on teacher's task performance could be carried out in Abia State or other states of the federation
















1.1              BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The goal of education in developing countries like Nigeria is to equip students with new skills, tacit knowledge, cultures, attitudes, behaviors and innovative ways of solving day to day problems in life. Education is aimed at supplying the economy with human capital that can convert efficiently other resources into output of high value for quality life (UNESCO, 2010). To attain quality education for sustainable development, the teacher as the core instiller of knowledge should be well motivated, healthy and satisfied with the job for excellent performance (KUPPET, Muiga, Kepha & Mike, (2016).

Unfortunately, previous studies indicate that teachers are usually under work-related stress hence not able to achieve the expected high levels of performance leading to ineffective education and delays in national and global development (Kyriacou & Chien, as cited in Muiga, Kepha & Mike, (2016).  Many researchers agree that job dissatisfaction caused by multiple factors (stressors) leads to teacher’ stress, ill health, poor performance and eventually high teacher turnover (Borg, 2010). It is a commonly held belief that teaching can be a highly stressful profession (Jarvis, cited in Nwimo &    Onwunaka, 2015). The National Union of Teachers (NUT) reported that stress is one of the biggest problems facing teachers, and that it is the main health and safety concern in four out of five schools studied (NUT as cited in Nwimo and Onwunaka, 2015). According to Travers and Cooper  as cited in Nwimo  and Onwukana,(2015),compared to other occupational groups (e.g., doctors, dentists, nurses) teachers experience lower job satisfaction and poorer mental health, such as anxiety, depression and stress.

Stress is the opposite of rest. Stress has become a phenomenon that is attracting public attention in developing countries. Stress has been conceptualized as the change in one‘s physical or mental state in response to situations (stressors) that pose challenge or threat to one‘s state of health (Zimbardo, Weber & Johnson, 2013). The Spaho (2011) sees stress as the brain‘s response to any demand. Though stress can help people achieve their goals and propel them through challenging situations, it can also become burdensome causing one to experience significant emotional distress and physical illness. It is a situation or circumstance that requires behavioural adjustment. It is a catalytic agent to other chronic diseases (Colligan & Higgi, 2015). Mgbodile as cited in Oforjindu (2011) sees stress as a condition or situation, internal or external that imposes demand for adjustment on the individual. Therefore stress is the pressure or worry on our bodies as a result of problems we encounter in our daily living.

Stress is a global phenomenon whose presence in a workplace is palpable. It is unavoidable and dreads, yet an imperative park of every day’s life. Stress is usually seen or thought of as only damaging to mental, physical and emotional health but it is a strong tide for motivating people to live actively and productively. Every human is faced with bundles of wants, responsibilities and relationships, efforts made towards satisfying them tend to put individuals in a stressful situation. There is need to have good conceptual framework of stress.

According to Aleeta (2010), stress is a condition that results when a person’s environmental transactions lead him or her to perceive a discrepancy whether real or between the demands of the situations and the resources of the individual’s biological physiological and social system. Selye in Obi and Obi (2017) define stress as physical and physiological reactions or response of the body to demanding stimulus events. From the above definitions, stress is therefore, the non-specific reactions of the body to the demands made on it by external and internal stimulus events called stressors. Stress is of various types. The two major types of stress are positive stress (Eustress) and negative stress (Distress). Positive stress (eustress) stimulates, invigorates and enriches life. It prepares the mind and body for optimum functioning. In the words of Selye in Obi and Obi (2017), it leads to fulfillment and achievement of goals and objectives as well as motivating individuals to take actions. Negative stress on the hand is known as distress that has harmful effects to the body. Intense prolonged and unrelenting stress carries with it the potential to cause low productivity, inefficiency and breakdown in health as it affects organs’ functioning. It also upsets the physical and physiological balance.

Ikeotuonye (2009) identifies four type of stress as normal stress, acute stress, chronic stress and crisis stress. Normal stress occurs when the arousal stress is mild and short-lived. The experience is with minor problems of everyday life. It can occur after a day’s job but easily over corned after a brief rest. Acute stress occurs when the state of stress is intense but short-lived. For instance, an experience of one-minute serious air turbulence while in the plane. Chronic stress manifests when the state of stress is prolonged and the individual’s adaptive capacities are taxed for relatively longer period. An example is a case of lasting illness. Crisis stress occurs as a result of stressful life events. For instance, cases of loss of a loved one, a great financial misfortune or imprisonment for many years with hard labour. Stress is therefore, very difficult to avoid as long as demands are made on the body. There is then need to find out the causes of stress. The inevitability of stress in life stems from the facts that humans are exposed to stress every moment of their lives as they carry out daily activities. These activities or event are sources of both satisfaction and stress, because individuals are expected to make adjustments towards inherent difficulties, uncertainties, disappointments, dangers, successes and failure. No wonder, Greenberg (2011) defined circumstances that cause stress as stressors of varying severity and duration. Stressors according to Ellis (2016) are grouped into three viz: catastrophic event, major life event and daily life hassles, sex stressors, learned helplessness, environmental stressors. Catastrophes are sudden and often life -threatening calamity or disasters that push people to outer limits of their coping capacity. Examples of the catastrophes are natural disasters such as earthquakes fire out breaks, flood, wars, torture automobile accidents, violent physical attacks and sexual assaults. Catastrophes often continue to affect victim’s mental health long after the event has ended.

Catastrophes can lead to major life changes. Major life changes refer to death of a spouse or family member, divorce, loses of job, illness or disability. Major life change stressors are personal stressors which produce immediate major reaction that soon tapers off (e.g. Stress arising from loss of loved one). Daily hassles pertain to individual’s jobs, personal relationships and everyday living circumstances. For example living in a noisy neighborhood, work in a heavy traffic, disliking fellow worker, financial inadequacies, long queues, loss of valuables, job dissatisfaction, threats to life and property, inability to make ends meet among others. Stress has causes and sources as well as effects. The effects of stress manifest as an end result after passing through the stressor. The impact can’t be over emphasized. For individual effectiveness; everybody requires a moderate degree of stress as a motivation to initiate action. Teachers are the individuals who underwent and completed in a formal teacher training institution, a planned programme of training (Obot, 2005). Alayi (2003) defined teachers as the individuals and group of individuals trained to facilitate learning of children, youths and adults learners to acquire necessary knowledge, values, attitudes and skills that will enable them to live in harmony and productively in their communities and global community. These teachers have various roles and tasks or duties to perform. These roles of teachers are also described as tasks or duties and are numerous. The foremost task is the teaching. The teachers also perform administrative tasks, sporting and keep fit task, student welfare, dormitory/Hostel management, extracurricular activities, instructional delivery tasks and classroom management task.

Each profession causes a specific level of stress. However, teaching is one such profession that causes more stress compared to other professions (Hargreaves, as cited in Nwimo & Onwunaka, 2015). Stress affects both the teacher and the learners in the teaching process. Kyriacou as cited in Nwimo and  Onwunaka (2015) who has carried out varied studies on teacher stress, defined teacher stress as the experiencing of unpleasant feelings such as depression, anger, worry, irritableness and tension which are formed as a result of working as a teacher. Kyriacou also defined teacher stress as experiences in teachers of unpleasant, negative emotions, such as anger, frustration, anxiety, depression and nervousness, resulting from some aspect of their work as teachers. Stress can also be related to apprehension, irritation, agitation, fear, annoyance, mental discomfort, nervous upset, inability to cope, frustration, unhappiness, etc.

The teaching task is very tasking and stressful as teachers are expected to carry minimum teaching load of 22 periods per week, prepare lesson plans, lesson note, and instructional delivery and improvise teaching resources. Teachers are expected to be alert and enthusiastic, cheerful, optimistic, self-controlled, not- easily upset and humorous. Teachers should be expert in content, pedagogy, curriculum, and learner’s differences in the teaching of subjects.

No wonder Obi and Obi (2017) were of the opinion that stress has both positive and negative effects. Stress is positive when it stimulates one to action and acts as a source of energy directing the individual towards useful purposes. It assists in the accomplishment of daily tasks. Negative effects of stress manifest as inability to cope with stressors, result in exhaustion, poor health, emotional responses related to fear, anger, anxiety, poor attitude to work among others. For the purpose of the study, emphasis is on teaching staff generally known as teachers. Hanif (2014) warns that negative effects of job stress impact negatively on employees leading to high cost of stress due to high turnover rates, increased absenteeism, low productivity and costly stress-related diseases. This consequently drains the resources and cause inefficiency in organizations hence the increasing widespread concern amongst policy makers, employers, employees and researchers over the high levels of stress in the world today.   The afore-mentioned negative effects of stress are obvious on teachers.

Ability of the teacher to routinely perform the above tasks and others efficiently and effectively is an indication of teacher task performance. Adequate teacher’s tasks performance manifest outcome of goal attainment, useful individuals, and effective citizens. Most often the teachers do not perform their expected tasks creditably and effectively. This has resulted in the lower standard of education and production half-baked graduates as lamented (Anene, 2016).

The presence of stress in various forms of negative effects and impacts seem to cause teachers inadequate task performance, Denga and Eko (2004) reported that poor teachers’ task performance is due to present challenging situations which act as acute stressors. This is obvious in secondary schools where the two broad goals gear towards preparing individual for useful living within the society and higher education. For the goals of the secondary education to be attained, secondary school teachers must be capable of performing their expected task) efficiently and effectively. This calls for need for stress management.

Management according to Ekpo (2012) is the process of controlling people or things in an organization. Management is the process of application of planning, staffing, organizing, directing, coordinating or reporting and budgeting adequately to achieve organizational goal. Obi and Obi (2017) emphasized that stress management gear towards learning how to manage/control stressors that have negative effects to effective teachers’ tasks performance.

Stress management comprises measures taken to cope with trying periods, so that a state of psychological and physiological equilibrium is reestablished and subsequently maintained (Cooper as cited in Oforjindu, 2011). Stress management therefore is the skill of dealing in a successful way with the pressure or worry caused by the problems in somebody’s life. The responsibility of imparting knowledge to the learner at the secondary school level is the duty of the teachers at the same level. To help learners master more challenging contents, teachers must go far beyond dispensing information, giving test, and giving grades. Besides, they must themselves know their subject areas deeply and understand how students think. The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN 2013) stated that no education system can rise above the quality of its teachers. There is the optimism to produce highly motivated, conscientious, efficient and hardworking students who will be encouraged to further the spirit of enquiry and creativity. Secondary school teachers are the people who help children move from the early phase of learning to a deeper knowledge of some of the same subjects they were introduced to in elementary school. The goal of teachers at this level is to teach skills that students will need as they go into institutions of higher learning, enter the job market or function as reasonable enlightened citizens of the society. Teaching at this stage can be especially tough. As children become adolescents, they go through rapid physical and emotional changes that put them at risk of all sorts of problems. Many schools grapple with problems of drugs, violence, gang activities and over population. These teachers do their jobs in this social context, teaching children from a wide spectrum of racial, religious and economic backgrounds (Oforjindu, 2011).

Management of stress enables teachers to understand that insufficient stress acts as a depressant which may leave the individuals feeling bored or dejected. It also exposes teachers to understand that excessive stress leaves individuals tied up in knots. It also provides good knowledge that, what is left for such individuals is to find optimal level of stress which will motivate and minimize the harm caused bearing in mind that taking action to be well and remain well is vital investment toward optimal task performance. There is also need to identify stress management practices which may promote, influence or correlate teacher tasks performance for better secondary education. Frogatt and Stamp in Obi and Obi (2017) identify three stress management practices for improvement task performance as: Ability to keep demands upon one within one’s capability and know your limits, Ability to build resources or skills to deal effectively with the demands chosen to accept and ability to access and understand the impacts of the demands.

Management practices as suggested by Seiye (2014) include the following : change of perception of stress as weakness, involvement of staff in problem solving, shared objective, effective communication, being supportive, emphasis on prevention against coping, rehabilitation of affected teachers, adequate career development, creating pleasant working environment being accessible and being cooperative.Effective communication activities involved in school administration is inter-personal communication, which is defined as transmitting of information from one person to another. It is also a process of sharing and exchanging of ideas, feelings, information, and thoughts (Oboegbulem and Onwurah, 2011). Apart from the need for effective communication and coordination in the management structure and process, the basic functions of education, rely almost on communication among teachers and students and co-ordination among various organizational structures and levels. In any institution where there is effective communication, there will be understanding among workers (teachers), harmony in work operation, good interpersonal relationship and easy realization of common objectives and goals. Communication is recognized for playing a vital role in effective administration of any organization which encourages teamwork. In application of effective communication, principals could establish and encourage good interpersonal relationship among teachers to students so as to maintain a continuous improvement in the quest for quality Education and improvement of falling standard of education. Therefore, the principals are expected to apply effective communication to a very great extent in order to achieve the organizational objectives in secondary schools.

Management practices for managing work place stress recommended by Lazarus (2016) are as follows: being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, think wining and seek first to understand. Uka (2010) posited the following for managing teachers stress for their effective staff adequacy, resources/facilities adequacy, insidious allocation of resources, adequate interpersonal relationships, keeping positive attitudes, effective communication, being assertive instead of aggressive, relaxation, adequate time management, enhanced working conditions and others. From the above stress management practices, attention will be paid to these six: Adequate time management, adequate provision of teaching facilities, inter-personal relationship, effective communication, and adequate working condition and staff relaxation practices. The above recommended stress management practices can only be effective if the school administrators implement them in daily activities.

School administrators at secondary school level are the principals. It is the duty of school administrators, who are executive heads, chief accountants, instructional leader, agents of transformation, and the managers of man and resources to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of both the teaching and non-teaching personnel task performance. The school administrators must be conversant and knowledgeable with stress management practices as identified and discussed to enable them enhance teachers’ task performance in their various schools.

Teachers’ performance entails the effectiveness of the teacher based on students’ performance results, attendance, communication skills, syllabus coverage, professionalism, decision making, interpersonal skills and classroom management (TSC as cited in Wangui1, Ombui2 & Iravo, 2016). Teaching is always marked as vital significant profession of the whole world as all the professions take their roots and nourishment from the said profession (Hanif, 2014).

Previous studies asserted that the effects of work-related stress create physical problems (heart disease, ulcers, migraine headaches and hormonal imbalances), psychological problems (low self-esteem, negative attitude, poor decisions, resentment of supervision, poor communication and job dissatisfaction) and/or behavioral problems (absenteeism, frequent mistakes, accidents and turnover) leading to employee’s poor performance (Lazarus & Folkman, 2014& Luthan, 2011). In public schools, work stress can negatively affect teachers’ physiological and psychological well-being which can adversely affect schools’ effectiveness. Students’ learning is also negatively influenced by teachers‟ job dissatisfaction and work-related stress causing poor grades (Milbourne, 2006). Akanya (2014) conducted a study on leadership inefficiency among secondary school principals in Cross River State. Iwatt (2012) studied poor relationship as a problem to flow of information in Enugu State. Ukah (2010) carried out a study on gender factor on administrators’ stress management practices of secondary school principals in Ebonyi State. Ebong (2013), examined factors that influences administrative efficiency on secondary school principals in Oron local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. From the reviews made so far, to the best of the knowledge of the researcher none of the researches was carried out in the study area. This is the reason the researcher decided to investigate on perceived influence of administrators’ stress management practices on teachers’ task performance in secondary schools in Abia State, Nigeria. This is the gap the study intends to fill.


Teacher’s task performance refers to the degree of which employees or staff executes their duties, roles and tasks. Teacher’s task performance is exemplified as adequate preparation of lesson plans, notes, and appropriate use of instructional resources, effective instructional resources, effective instructional delivery and others. Teachers are therefore, expected to perform or carry out or discharge the expected tasks as shown above to ensure attainment of the secondary education goals of preparing useful citizens within the society and for higher education.

Unfortunately, the goals of secondary education seem not to be attained in Abia State, Nigeria. This could be due to poor or inadequate teachers’ tasks performance. Poor teachers’ task performance may be due to presence of inadequately managed stressors associated with teaching tasks and teachers’ job performance. This could also be due to poor administrators’ or inadequate knowledge of stress management practices. It seems that school administrators do not know the stress management practices which influence teacher’s task performance for effective secondary education. The problem of the study put in a question form reads: do school administrators stress management practices influences teachers’ task performance? To what extent do school administrators stress management practices influence teachers’ task performance in secondary schools?


The purpose of the study is to examine the perceived influence of administrators’ stress management practices on teacher’s task performance in public secondary schools in Abia State, Nigeria, specifically the study sought to:

1.      Determine the extent administrators’ time management practices influence teachers’ task performance in secondary schools

2.      Examine the extent administrators’ adequate provision of teaching facilities influence teachers task performance in secondary schools

3.      Ascertain the extent to which the administrators’ interpersonal relationships influence teachers task performance in secondary schools

4.      Find out the extent of administrators’ effective communications influence teachers’ task performance in secondary schools

5.      Determine the extent administrators’ promotion of adequate working conditions influence teachers’ task performance in secondary schools

6.      Find out the extent administrators’ staff relaxation practices influence teachers’ task performance in secondary schools


The following research questions were asked to guide the study


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