Administrative Stress Index

Gmelch, W. H., and Swent, B. (1982). Management team stressors and their impact on administrators’ health. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association. ERIC ED 218 761.


The 35-item Administrative Stress Index (ASI) identifies major sources of administrators’ stress by establishing clear categories of occupational stressors (stress-inducing situations). Comparisons were made among sources of stress and various administrative positions. In addition, the relationship between sources of stress and administrator physical health was examined.


All 1,211 participants in the study were members of the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators. Three hundred fifty-four were elementary administrators, 397 were junior high and high school administrators, 151 were superintendents or superintendents/principals, 254 were assistant superintendents and central office staff, and 89 were curriculum directors, transportation supervisors, and athletic directors.


The ASI is comprised of the 15 items from the Job-Related Index (Indik, Seashore, and Slesinger, 1964) and 23 items developed from stress logs and a review of the literature that examined sources of administrator stress. The items were then placed in one of the five stress categories. The index was piloted using 25 school administrators. After the initial pilot study, the index was revised and piloted on another group of 20 administrators. The development of the ASI provides evidence for its content validity.

Factor Analysis:

Each of the five factors contains seven items. The items have been rank ordered from 1 (highest) to 35 (lowest). For convenience, the rank order has been used as the item number. Administrative constraints consists of items 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 17, and 23; administrative responsibilities 4, 6, 16, 18, 19, 22, and 29; interpersonal relations 5, 12, 14, 15, 20, 26, and 31; intrapersonal conflict 7, 9, 13, 24, 28, 31, and 34; and role expectations 11, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, and 35.

Definition of Factors:

Administrative constraints refer to inadequate time, meetings, and rules. Administrative responsibilities refer to the managerial tasks of evaluation, supervision and negotiation. Interpersonal relations refer to re- solving differences among and between supervisors and colleagues. Intrapersonal conflict refers to conflicts between one’s performance and one’s internal beliefs and expectations. Role expectations refer to the difference in expectations of self and the various publics served.

Data Analysis:

Mean scores for each of the 35 items and the five factors are provided. In addition, analysis of variance tests for significant differences between the factors and administrative position as well as mean scores and analysis of variance for the top seven stressors by administrative position are reported.


Gmelch, W. H. (1982). Beyond Stress to Effective Management. New York: Wiley.

Gmelch, W. H., and Burns, J. S. (1991). Sources of stress for academic department chairs: A national study. Paper presented at the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

Ogden, D. L. (1992). Administrative stress and burnout among public school administrators in Georgia. PhD dissertation, Georgia State University.

Administrative Stress Index

  1. Complying with state, federal, and organizational rules and policies
  2. Feeling that meetings take up too much time
  3. Trying to complete reports and other paperwork on time
  4. Trying to gain public approval and/or financial support for school programs
  5. Trying to resolve parent/school conflicts
  6. Evaluating staff members’ performance
  7. Having to make decisions that affect the lives of individual people that I know (colleagues, staff members, students, )
  8. Feeling that I have too heavy a workload, one that I cannot possibly finish during the normal workday
  9. Imposing excessively high expectations on myself
  10. Being interrupted frequently by telephone calls
  11. Feeling I have to participate in school activities outside of the normal working hours at the expense of my personal time
  12. Handling student discipline problems
  13. Feeling that the progress on my job is not what it should or could be
  14. Feeling staff members don’t understand my goals and expectations
  15. Trying to resolve differences between/among staff members
  16. Being involved in the collective bargaining process
  17. Writing memos, letters and other communications
  18. Administering the negotiated contract (grievances, interpretation, )
  19. Supervising and coordinating the tasks of many people
  20. Trying to resolve differences between/among students
  21. Thinking that I will not be able to satisfy the conflicting demands of those who have authority over me
  22. Preparing and allocating budget resources
  23. Having my work frequently interrupted by staff members who want to talk
  24. Knowing I can’t get information needed to carry out my job properly
  25. Feeling pressure for better job performance over and above what I think is reasonable
  26. Trying to influence my immediate supervisor’s actions and decisions that affect me
  27. Not knowing what my supervisor thinks of me, or how he/she evaluates my performance
  28. Feeling that I have too little authority to carry out responsibilities assigned to me
  29. Speaking in front of groups
  30. Being unclear on just what the scope and responsibilities of my job are
  31. Attempting to meet social expectations (housing, clubs, friends, )
  32. Trying to resolve differences with my superiors
  33. Feeling that I have too much responsibility delegated to me by my superiors
  34. Feeling that I am not fully qualified to handle my job
  35. Feeling not enough is expected of me by my superiors


A five-point Likert-type is used.