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The Association Of Role Conflict And Ambiguity With Administrator Stress And Burnout

Walter H. Gmelch, Joseph A. Torelli

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Many of the recent studies on school administrator stress and burnout have failed to investigate the connection between stress and burnout with role conditions such as role conflict and role ambiguity. The present study assessed the association of role conflict and ambiguity with the administrative stress cycle. Seventy-four percent of the 1000 principals and superintendent completed the Administrator Work Inventory which consisted of the Administrator Stress Index, Maslach Burnout Inventory and Role Questionnaire in addition to demographic and organizational questions. The results of the multiple correlations between the variables resulted in the following conclusions: (1) Role conflict and ambiguity contributes specifically to conflict-mediating stress; (2) Burnout in administration is associated closely with role structure of administrative positions; and (3) Administrators must manage the role conflict and ambiguity in order to filter some of the stress and emotional exhaustion from their occupations. Implications for training institutions were also drawn from the study.