A CASE STUDY ON STRESS EXPERIENCED BY TEACHERS IN AN URBAN SECONDARY SCHOOL IN SARAWAK
BY Yong Choo Tiong
A thesis submitted
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science
Faculty of Cognitive Science And Human Development UMNERSITI MALAYSIA SARAWAK 1998
No portion of the work referred to in this drssertation has been submitted in support of an application for another degree or qualification of this or any other university or institute of liigher leanzing.
ABSTRACT This case study examined the stress experienced by teachers in a selected urban secondary school in Sibu Division, Saralvak. The five main objectives of the study was (i) to identify the main stress factors, (ii) to identify the main stressors, (iii) to determine the levels of teacher stress, (iv) to examine the relationship between teachers' stress levels and students' school examination performance, (v) to identify the different responses to stress due to demogaphicat differences of the teachers. A survey questionnaire was used for this study. The questionnaire was modtied from the Occupational Stress Inventory for Teachers in Malaysia. To triangulate the findings, participant observations, document study and interviews were also employed. The researcher spent 6 weeks doing the participant observation and interviews. He taught in some classes and took part in school activities. From a total of 105 teachers in the school, 86 responded to the questionnaire. Forty-five teachers were further interviewed. The findings showed that the best predictors for stress factors were the workload and student factors. The most prevailing stressors were 'poor atbtude of students toxvards learning', 'having to deal with students who continually misbehave', 'having to deal with weak or incompetent students', 'high expectation from school principal', 'having to teach large classes', 'classroom is too congested' and 'students do not respect teachers'. None of the teachers were free from stress. 30.69/0 of the respondents were mildly stressed, 44.790 were moderately stressed, 18.8% very stressful and 5.9% were extremely stressful. The students' performance according to subjects revealed that better performance were enhanced when teachers were at moderate stress or much stress levels. When teachers were experiencing mild stress or extreme stress, the students' performance was relatively low. The iinlngs in this study showed that there was no differewes in the teachers' stress level due to the different demographical differences. Hence, in this school, teachers' stress levels were not affected by their gender, places of ori.gin, races, qualifications, length in service, age, different number of teaching periods, subjects, level of students and classes taught.
ABSTRAK Kajian kes ini meninjau tekanan yang dialami oleh guru-guru di sebuah sekolah menengah di kawasan bandar, Bahagian Sibu, Sarawak. Antara lima objektif utama kajian ini ialah (i) mengenalpasti faktor-faktor utama stress, (ii) mengenalpasti puncapunca tekanan, (iii) menentukan aras tekanan kerja, (iv) meninjau hubungan antara pencapaian pelajar dan aras tekanan guru, (v) meninjau hubungan antara ciri-ciri demografi dan aras tekanan guru. Soal selidik telah digunakan dalam kajian ini untuk mengumpul data. Soal selidik ini diubahsuaikan dari Inventori Tekanan Kerja Guruguru Malaysia. Pemerhatian, tinjauan dokumen dan ternuduga juga digunakan untuk mengukuhkan dapatan kajian. Antara 105 orang guru di sekolah ini, 56 antara mereka rnenjadi responden. Empat puluh litna orang guru daripada responden ditemuduga lagi. Penyelidik telah membuat pelnerhatian di sekolah tersebut selama enam minggu. Dalam tempoh itu, beliau melibatkan diri dalam penyajaran dan akiviti sekolah. Dapatan kajian ini menunjukkan bahawa faktor-hktor utama yang menyebabkan telianan kerja guru ialah faktor beban kerja dan pelajar. Punca-punca utatna tekan kerja guru ialah 'pelajar tidak berminat terhadap pelajaran', -terpaksa berums dengan pelajar yang sentiasa bermasalah disiplin', 'perlu mengurus pelajar-pelajar yang lemah dan tidak cekap', 'pengetua menaruh harapan yang tinggi terhadap guru', 'perlu mengajar kelas yang terlalu rainai pelajar' , 'bili k darjah terlalu sesak' dan 'pelajar-pelajar tidak menzhonnati guru'. Tiada guru di sekolah tersebut bebas dari tekanan kerja. 30.63,0responden ialah mengalami sedikit tekanan. 44.796 menghadapi tekanan sederhana dan 18.8Ob ialah mengaiami tekanan kuat. 5.gO'o ~nenagalalni tekanan arnat kuat. Pencapaian kcputusan rnata pelaj aran pels-;ar menunjukkan baha~vaapabila guni-guru di aras tekanan sederhana atau kuat. pencapaian pelajar ialah lebih elok. Pencapaian pelajar inenurun apabila guru-guru mengaiami tekan amat kuat atau sedikit tekanan. Tiada perbezaan aras tekanan ke rja yans bererti w j u d berasaskan jantina. tempat asal, bangsa, kelayakan, pengalarnan mengajar, usia, bilangan waktu mengajar seminggu, mata pelajaran, tahap-tahap pelajar dan kelaskelas yang diajar.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Yong Choo Tiong was born in Sibu town in 1959. He received his primary and secondary school education in Sacred Heart School, Sibu. He furthered his studies in the University of Malaya in 1980. In 1984, he graduated from the University of Malaya with Bachelor of Science With Education (Hons).
He joined Sacred Heart Secondary School in April 1984, teaching fonn six mathematics and physics. In his service as a teacher, he was appointed as mathematics resource personnel for the Integrated Curriculum for Secondary School (KBSM). He also conducted courses for education officers in 'evaluation and testing'. He was the head of the Mathematic Resource Pool for Sibu Division.
In 1995, he was promoted as the senior assistant in Sacred Heart Secondary School. He was then transferred to SMK Belaga, Kapit as the principal in December 1995. He served in the school until July 1997 and was given the opportunity to follow the Master's program offered by the Ministry of Education in IAB and UNIMAS.
This thesis is dedicated to all teachers and my parents, my sisters and brother my wife and children, AIbin, Alene and Fiona.
I would like to thank my supervisor, Professor Dr Razali Arof for his patience and advice. My sincere thank to Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid, the Director of Institut Aminuddin Baki, Professor Dr Razali Arof, the Dean of Faculty Science Cognitive and Human Development, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and the Ministry of Education for giving me the opportunity to follow this Master's program. I would like to extend my gratitude to Dr Haji Abang Ridzuan, the course coordinator, all my lecturers and all the cohort three members for being very encouraging and helpful. My appreciation to the Director of the Educational Planning and Research Department, the Director of Sarawak State Education Department, the Divisional Educational Officer, the principals and teachers in the selected schools for permitting me to carry out this case study. I would like to thank Professor Dr Hazadiah Mohd. Dahan and Miss Mai Sumiyati Bin Ishak for their valuable suggestions in improving this thesis.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Pages Abstract Abstrak
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
List of Graphs
INTRODUCTION 1.0 Introduction 1.1 Problem Statement 1.2 Objectives of Study 1.3 Definitions 1.4 Significance of the Study 1.5 Limitations of the Study 1.6 Summary
REMEW OF LITERATURE 2.0 Introduction 2.1 Definitions of Stress 2.2 Stress IblodeIs 2.3 international Studies 2.4 National Studies 2.5 Framework of the Study
METHODOLOGY 3.0 Overview 3.1 Research Design 3.2 Subjects of the Study 3.3 Pilot Study 3.4 Instrument 3.4.1 Questionnaire 3.4.2 Interview 3.4.3 Document Study 3.4.4 Observation 3.5 Analysis of Data 3.6 Summary
CHAPTER N: 4.0 introduction 4.1 Description of the School and Respondents 4.2 Findings on the Research Questions of the Study 4.2.1 Main Stress Factors 4.2.2 Main Stressors 4.2.3 Levels of Stress 4.2.4 Relationship between levels of teacher stress and students' results 4.2.5 Relationships between Stress Levels and Different Demographxcal Characteristics 4.3 Discussion
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 5.0 Overview 5.1 Summary of Findings 5.2 Implications 5.3 Recommendations for Future Studies 5.4 Summary
Approval Letter from EPRD
Approval Letter fiom State Educational Department
Approval Letter from Divisional Educational Department
Letter to School
Reliability Analysis of questionnaire- First School
Reliability Analysis of questionnaire- Second School
Reliability Analysis of questionnaire- First and Second School Reliability of Questionnaire in Chosen SchooI Occupation Stress Inventory for Teachers in Malaysia
Questionnaire for Teacher Stress
Rank Order of Stessors
LIST OF TABLES
Table 2. I
Title Summary Comparison of Three Stress Models
Percentage of Very or Extremely Stressful Levels in Reported Teacher Stress
Research Methods Employed for the Different Research Questions
Distribution of Items under Each Stress Factor
Distribution of Teacher Population According to Gender and Sessions
Distribution of Teacher Population According to Gender and Race
Gender Composition of Respondents
Places of Origins of the Respondents
EthrucaI Composition of Respondents
Qualifications of Rssponaents
Teaching Experience of Respondents
Age Group Distribution of Respondents
Distribution of Teaching Periods Per Week
Distribution of Respondents in Terms of Subjects Taught
Table 4.1 I
Levels of Students Taught by the Respondents
Types of Classes Taught by the Respondents
R Values for the Different Models of Stress Factors
Best Model with Predictors
The Different Models of Predictors
Rank Order of Stress Factors
Ten Most Prevailing Stressors
Stress Levels Experienced by the Respondents
fighe& Lower Secondary Students' Teachers Stress Levels and Subjects
Lowest Students' Lower Secondary Results by Teachers Stress Levels and Subjects
Highest Students' Upper Secondary Results by Teachers Stress Levels and Subjects
Lowest Students' Upper Secondary Results by Teachers Stress Levels and Subjects
T-test for Difference in Stress Levels for Male and Female Respondents
T-test for Difference in Stress Levels Experienced by Teachers from Different Places of Origin
ANOVA for difference in Stress Levels Experienced by Different Races of Teachers
ANOVA for difference in Stress Levels Due to Teacher Qualifications
ANOVA for difference in Stress Levels Experienced by Teachers with Different Number of Years in S e ~ c e
ANOVA for difference in Stress Levels from Different Age Groups
ANOVA for difference in Stress Levels by Teachers with Different Number of Teaching Periods Per Week
ANOVA for difference in Stress Levels by Teachers Teaching Different Subjects
ANOVA for difference in Stress Levels by Teachers Teaching Different Levels of Students
ANOVA for difference in Stress Levels Experienced by Teachers Teachng Different Classes
LIST OF FIGURES Titles
Figure 2. I
A Response-Based Model of Stress
A Stimulus-Based Model of Stress
An Interactive Model of Stress
An interactive Model of Teacher Stress
Research Procedure flow Chart
LIST OF GRAPHS
Mean Students7 Performance in Bahasa Melayu (Lower Secondary) against Teacher Stress Levels
Mean Students' Performance in English (Lower Secondary) against Teacher Stress Levels
Mean Students' Performance in History (Lower Secondary) against Teacher Stress Levels
Mean Students7Performance in Geography (Lower Secondary) against Teacher Stress Levels
Mean Students' Performance in Mathematics (Lower Secondary) against Teacher Stress Levels
&lean Students' Performance in Living SkiIls~ (Lower Secondary) against Teacher Stress Levels .
Mean Students' Performance in Science (Lower Secondary) against Teacher Stress Levels
Mean Students' Performance in Bahasa Melaju (Upper Secondary) against Teacher Stress Levels
Mean Students' Performance in English (Upper Secondary) against Teacher Stress Levels
Mean Students7 Performance in Moral Education (Upper Secondary) against Teacher Stress Levels
Graph 4. I I
Mean Students' Performance in History (Upper Secondav) against Teacher Stress Levels
h4ean Students7 Performance in Mathematics (Upper Secondary) agaiilst Teacher Stress Levels
Mean Students' Perfonnance in Pure Sciences (Upper Secondaryj against Teacher Stress Levels
Stress is an -inescapable facets of modern living and working life' (Sutherland alld Cooper, 1994. p. 131 ?. Science and technologies have improved our standard of living but are not able to remow stress from life or xvork place. Some of the comlnon stressors in urban livinz include crowding, noise, air pollution; commuting and crimes (Graig, 1994). The common stressors in njork p!ace include job demand, job design, role conflict; role ambizuity, work overload, inadequate career development opportunities, leader relationsh~ps and organisational culture (Matteson and
Ivancevich, 19891. Stress affects everyone in a society or work place. Nobody can really claim to be tie:: from stress. Selye ( 1956) co!nmenrs that a person without stress is a dead person.
A person experiences stress when he or she is unable to maintain balance due to internal or external stimulus. These stinluli are also referred to as stressors. Tn a work place, stress is a product of the person. the source of stress and the \\orking environment. Some of the stress responses are ph_vs~olo~cal, psychological and behabroural ontcornes Sellit: (1934) uses the term 'general adaptation syndrome' (GAS)to de.jcnbe the three stages of yhys~ologicalresponses to ttusats and demands. It is referred to as the general adsptation syndrome because humar~bodies respond to
threats and stress in similar ways. In the alarm reaction stage, the brain receives a signal from the stimulus. Adrenaline is then produced to prepare the body for 'fight or flight'. This hormone provides the body with burst of energy but for a short duration onlv. The body system will enter the second stage, that is the resistance stage. of the
GAS when the first stage failed to remove or neutralise the effect of the stressor. In this stage, the initial alarin system is OK However, the endocrine system supplies hormones and minerals in order to enable the body to resist or adapt the stress. If the body can adapt to the stressor successfully. the body system will return to normal. However, if this fails, then the body system will enter into the exhaustion stage. During this stage the body is most vulnerable to stress-related physical and mental illness (Bernard, 1990, p.23). The immunity system and the physiological system are weakened. Some of the somatic symptoms of stress are: abdominal pain, difficulty
breathing, eczema, high blood pressure, kidney or bladder trouble, cardiovascular disorders (e.g., Bernard, 1990; Rice 1957).
Stress may lead to reduced productivity and effectiveness of an individual worker (Sutherland and Cooper, 1993, p.132). For example, workers may exhibit 'active behaviours' because of work stress. They will 'decrease the work effort', 'going on strike' or unwilling to undertake a designed job (Matteson and Ivancevich, 1989, p.60). On the other hand, some workers under stress will exhibit 'passive behaviours'. They will not pay attention to the supervisor's instruction, ignore quality control and ignore safety procedures. High absenteeism and tun1 over rate as well as the above mentiotled behaviours are causing big losses to companies. The National Science
Foundation reports that stress costs over $100 billion annually and is increasing (Matteson and Ivancevich, 1989, p.6j.
Each occupation or organisation has its own environmental sources of stress. For example. factoc workers may be affected by long hours of working or shift work. Sutherland and Cooper (1994) claim that shift workers are more fatigued and have more gastrointestinal troubles than day workers. They also ha;.e problems in circadian rhythms. social and family life c hiairnunah Aminuddin. 1997. p. 113 1. Reslow and Buell (clted In Sutherland and Cooper. 1994. p 146 ) found that llght ~ndustpworkers in the United States who worked more than 48 hours per week had h\lce the risk of death from coronaq heart disease compared to those ~vholvorked 40 hours or less a week. Rosch and Pelletier (cited in \Vexley and Latham. 1991, p.297) estimate that stress has caused an average of 1 million American workers to be absent from work on any given workday. Office workers encounter other forms of stressors. Research shows that the use of Visual Display Terminal (VDT) or computer monitors causes high level of stress, eye strain, physical disco~nfortin the neck and shoulder areas (Maimunah Aminuddin, 1997, p. 157j. Sutherland and Cooper ( 1994) indicate that the most stressful aspects of dentists are to handle difficult patients and to be on schedule. Marshall (cited in Sutherland and Cooper, 1994) reports that the main stressors for a nurse are workload, death and dying. uncertainty. responsibilities and role conflicts.
In the educational institutions, studies suggest that teaching is a stressful profession (e.3.. Capel. 1957: Kyr~acou and Sutcliffe.
1978. 1379: Smilansky, 1981).
Occupational stress is critical in the teaching profession because it affects the health and reduces work performance and work effectiveness. Some of the stress related health probleins include coronary artery disease, alcoholism. fatigue, headaches, insomnia and nervous tension (e.g.. Rice, 1987, Kyriacou and Pratt. 1985). The State Education Department of Penang reported that there was an average of a problem teacher In every school in the state (The New Straits Times. October 9, 1997).
hlost of the studies in teacher stress were carried out in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. These studies focused on the prevalence and sources of teacher stress (e.g., Kynacou and Sutciiffe, 1979; Tuettemann and Punch. 1990; O'Connor and Clarke, 1990). Stress was found to be prevailing in teaching profession. The common sources of szess were -pupii misbehaviour', 'poor working conditions'. 'poor staff communications*, 'time demand', 'poor remuneration', 'workload' (e.g., Kyiacou and Sutcliffe, 1979; Dunham, 1980; Manthei and Solman, 1988; Trendall, 1989: Bo!.le, Borg, Falzon and Baglioni, 1995). Some of the studies reveaied that the teachers' demogaphical differences like gender, age and teaching experience affected teacher stress !e.g., Lauglzlin, 1984; Manthei and Solman, 1988; Fontana and Abouserie, 1993; McCorn~ick,1996).
In recent years, there were also studies belng done in Malaqs~aregarding teacher
stress ( e g Sit1 Roham Sharif, 199 1 ; Suseela Malakolunthu, 1994, Junaidah Abdul Jamll, 1995, Seah Kwee Siang. 1995. Tan Huat Ch>e. 1996: V~ckneasvar~ Krishnasamy. 1997, Abang Mat Ali, 1993; Pvlokl~tarBlil L h i ~ ~ a1998) d, Some of these studies sholved that teachers in hlalaqsia \\ere also under h ~ g hstress Sussela Malakolunthu ( 1991) reported that 36 89.0 of the respondents In her study were v e q or eutremelq stressful fvfokhtar Bin Ahmad ( 1998) and Abang Mat Air Bin .4bans Masagus (1998 3 found that 17 5O 0 and 2 1 3?6 of t h e ~ rrespondents resyectlvely \\ere very stressful. The maln sources of stress were ident~fiedas 'students' attitude', -workload'. -teaching poorly motlbated students' ( e g., S I ~Rohanl I Shanf, 199 1. Seah Kwee Sianz, 1995, Juna~dahAbdul Jamil. Mokhtar Bin Ahmad. 1998) The only study on teacher stress in Sarawah tias conducted b! Abang Mat '411 Bln Abai~g Masagus (199Sj He focused on the stress coping strategies used by secondary teachers In Zone A of Kuchingtsarnarahan Dlviston. The find~ngsshowed that 'ensuring that one understood what one was about to teach was the effective strategy' in stress coping.
Prolonged stress will lead to mental and physical ill-health (Kyriaucou, 1987). Some of the stress-relared illnesses rncludes heart attack. palpitation, hypertension, migraine. hae:norrho~ds.angina. ~ndigestion.premenstrual tension. asthma. dizz~ness.
breathing difficulties. back-ache, alopecia, insomnia. ~astrou~testinaldisorders,
physical fatigue and eczema (Cranwell-Ward, 1987, p 80, Rice, 1957, p.2 10, Markham, 1992, p 154). Teacher stress leads to burnout and lower perfor~nanceof teachers' work In Malaysia, it was reported that almost 400 teachers apply for ret~re~nent every month (The New Stra~ts Times, September 27, 1994). This phenomenon could possibly be due to the etlfect of teacher stress Gold and Roth (
1Y93) polnt out that the stressful and emotional d ~ l e ~ n n ~ that a s teachers encounter
daily debilitate teachers' health and lead to burnout and dropout. In hlalaysia, Noor Azzuddtn Abdul
1990) supported thls wew and potnted out that teachers under
the new curr~culum(KSSi\ll;tend to leake the senice if they w r e under hizh stress.
Considering teachers are the architects for future nation builders. the stress problems of teachers capnot be taken lightl?.. With the cballenzes stipulated in Vision 2030, we are depending on the teachers to help the nation in materialising this mammoth visicn. In the process of realising vision 2020, schools administrators are taking initiatives to improve the academic performances of the students. Hence there is a need to study relationship between teacher stress and students' performance.
To date, there is only one research being done on teacher stress in Saralvak. In the research, Abang Mat Ali (1998) found that 49.0941of the respondents from secondary schools in Zone A of Kuching:' Samarahan Division were at least moderately stress in their profession. 21.3
of the respondents were highl). stressed or estretnely
stressed. The study by Abang Mat Ali exemplifies that teachers sen-ing in Sarawak also face the same stress problems like their counterpans in L1;est blalaysia and other
parts of the world. Hence, it is hoped that, a case study of teacher stress in a chosen secondary school in the Sibu Division, which has good acadenlic performance, \vill give further insight into the teacher stress situations. The precious studies on stress were usually associated with negative effects or loner performances. Hence the objective of this study is to investigate whether stress can enhance performance.
This chosen school has been consistently achieving good results in the form three
(PMR), form five \'SPMj and form six public examinations (STPhl:). For example, 149;b of the sntdents who sat for the PMR in 1997 obtained 7As and SAs. 34.1% of
the total number of candidates obtained 54s or better results. Out of nine sut?jects,the passing rates for eight subjects were higher than 87.49.6. In 1996, there were 26.196 of the candidates who obtained at least 5As.
In the SPM results the school maintained a passing rate of above 75?~0.In both the 1996 and 1997 SPM,there were 10 candidates who scored either 6AI or 7A I. In the 1997 SPM, 33.00/0of the candidates secured grade one and another 24.50;0 of them
obtained grade two. Out of the 17 subjects taken by the students, four of the subjects achieved 100% pass and another three subjects with passing rates Illore than 90%. Only three subjects had passing rates less than 80%.
The school has outstand~ngperformance In the 1997 STPhl results as \yell Out of the ten candidates XIho obtained 5Xs in the Sarawak State. thrce of them were from this school There itere another i 1 candtdates who obtai~sd3.4s or -!As The percentage
of students who obtained five principle passes were 65.1°/;6. This result was outstanding because there were only 19.989'; of the total number of candidates who obtained f d l principle passes in the Sarawak State. In this.school, nine out of eleven subjects in STPM had passing rates higher than 8096. In both the 1995 and 1996 STPM results. the school maintained 65.5q6 of candidates with five principles passes.
Through Informal conversation and observat~onby the researcher prlor to the study, the teachers in this school remarked that they were under stress They also showed signs of stress There were complaints about their work and students. Soine of the teachers colnrnented that they were under stress because of workload. They lamented that they had to put In extra hours after school m order to check through the students' work and preparc far the school lessons Other teachers Indicated that students were puttlng them on the~rnenes Some of the students were misbehaving In classes and had no interest In their stud~esThe teachers were hatlng dlft'icult tlnles trying to help these groups of students Some teachers had problems in class control. They had to refer students' dlsclpline cases to the admlnlstra:ors or the dlsc~pllnaryteachers. A number of teachers ivere d~sappointedwith the prornotional opportunities. There were few prolnotional exercises The expectations from school and the cormnunlty also exerted a lot of pressure on the teachers.
Findrnzs on stress hace sholin that stress leads to reduced productivity and effectneness. Ho~ve~er, this choscn school was one of the outstanding schools
Sibu Di1 ision ~chlchproduced 200d x a d e ~ n ~ results c desplte the fact that the teachers
were under stress. Hence it would be useful to find out the nature of stress that the teachers in thls school are experiencing and how this is related to students' academlc performance. The find~ngswould add to the existing knowledge that stress can enhance performance. The relat~onshlp between teachers' stress and students' academic performance would help administrators to detennine the optimum stress levels for teachers The admlmstrators can enhance better students' academic performance by modulating teachers' stress in their schools.
Hence this study focused on. What are the natures of stress experienced by teachers In this school? How are teacher stress related to the students' pertkrmance?
Objectives of Study
The purpose of this study is to (a) examine the nature of stress experienced by teachers serving in a selected urban secondary school in Sibu Division (b) ~nvestigateto what extent the teachers in this school are under stress ( c ) investigate the relationship between teacher stress and students' performance ( d ) in\ estlgate the demosraphical dlfferznces of the teachers related to stress.
Consistent with the above objectives, the research questions (RQ) of this study are the following:
RQ1: What are the main stress factors experienced by the teachers in this school? RQ2: What are the main stressors identified by the teachers in this school? RQ3: What levels of stress are these teachers experiencing? RQ4: How is the relationship between levels of teachers' stress and students' school examination results? RQ5: Are there an? differences in the stress levels for the drfferent demographical subgroups?
For the purpose of this study, the follow-in definitions are used.
Stress is defined as a pattern of emotional states and physio10,uical reactions occurring in response to demallds from outside or inside an organisation (Greenberg, 1996, p323 1. For the purpose of this study, stress is defined as a process of behavioural, emotional, mental and physical reactions caused by prolonged. increasing or new pressures lvhich are siggii>cantiygeater than coping resources