The Problem and Its Setting
Stress is an unavoidable consequence of modern living. Everyone experiences stress in varying forms and degrees. Company directors, teachers, actors, government officials, athletes, navy officers/soldiers, housewives and even students experience stress. With the growth of industries, pressure in the urban areas, quantitative growth in population and various problems in day to day life are some of the reasons for increase in stress. More generally, the term “stress” has been widely used in the social sciences following the pioneering work on psychological stress by Selye in the 1950s (Selye, 1956 as cited by Kyriacou, 2001 and Timothy Kerlin, 2001). According to Selye (1974), the three types of stress demands are physiological, psychological, and environmental. Thus, stress is a condition of strain that has a direct bearing on emotions, thought process and physical conditions of a person. Some of them act as a source of inspiration for us and some causes challenges. It is the human nature to face the challenges boldly or to escape from it. Any challenge that exceeds the coping abilities of the individual becomes stress. And most people would regard experience of stress at work as something to do with the anxiety caused by having to work under pressure. Selye (1974) as cited in Timothy Kerlin (2001) noted that all individuals need some amount of stress in order to be productive. Minimal stress or sometimes referred to as positive stress gives energy to individuals to perform their tasks. Lack of positive stress in a teacher’s daily job for example, can cause problem, the same as too much negative stress can create tension for the person.
In many countries teacher’s job is often considered as one of the most stressful profession. In the last two decades, intensive researches have been carried out in USA and Europe concerning the sources and symptoms of teachers’ professional stress (Kyriacou, 1996). Studies in the field of teacher’s stress show that the greater part stress is associated with the rapid pace of changes in education, particularly in 1980s and 1990s. Teaching profession is generally considered as a noble profession with lots of expectations from the parents towards their children’s education and the development of their personalities. These expectations may also contribute as a source of stress. Teacher stress is defined 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 (Kyriacou, 2001). Teachers are at increased risk for burnout. Measuring teacher stress is important and can play an important role in understanding the processes that lead to teacher burnout. Burnout is described as the inability to perform both functionally and effectively in employment settings due to extensive exposure to job-related stress (Dorman, 2003).
The experience of work stress can alter the way the person feels, thinks and behaves, and can also produce changes in their psychological, physiological and behavioral functions. Work stress in teachers also produces many negative effects. Sometimes these effects are on physical health and sometimes psychological health. For several years, it was hypothesized that stress serves to arouse a person and increase attention to the job, thus improving performance. But this trend is now changing, because beyond that optimum level of stress, performance falls off (Ivancevich and Matteson, 1980). Studies show that performance whether measured by supervisor’s ratings, organizational perceptions of effectiveness, or job performance on job-related examinations have repeatedly found to decrease with increasing levels of stress (Jamal, 1984; Motowidlo, Pakard and Manning, 1986).
It is in this context that this study is proposed in order to determine the relationship of job stress to job performance of public female...