A1 Journal article (refereed)
Directors' stress in day care centers : related factors and coping strategies (2020)

Elomaa, M., Pakarinen, E., Eskelä-Haapanen, S., Halttunen, L., Von Suchodoletz, A., & Lerkkanen, M.-K. (2020). Directors' stress in day care centers : related factors and coping strategies. International Journal of Educational Management, 34(6), 1079-1091. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-10-2019-0383

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Elomaa, Mailis; Pakarinen, Eija; Eskelä-Haapanen, Sirpa; Halttunen, Leena; Von Suchodoletz, Antje; Lerkkanen, Marja-Kristiina

Journal or series: International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

eISSN: 1758-6518

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 34

Issue number: 6

Pages range: 1079-1091

Publisher: Emerald

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-10-2019-0383

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/68885


This study aims to explore what causes stress to day care center directors and what their coping strategies are. In addition, the study examined the extent to which directors experience work-related stress and burnout, and the factors associated with their work-related stress, engagement and recovery from work.
A mixed method approach was used.
The results showed that the main sources of directors' stress were connected to leading oneself, leading others, managing change and lack of social support. Moreover, the main coping strategies with stress were leading oneself, social support and leading others. In addition, both pre- and in-service leadership training played a significant role in the experience of stress. The nature of factors causing stress and coping strategies with stress may imply that directors need further support in self-management and developing their internal competences.
Research limitations/implications
The present study has limitations that need to be considered when making generalizations. First, a small sample size limits the generalization of the findings. Second, the study relied solely on one source of information, i.e. directors' self-reports. Third, data were collected only at one time point at the end of the year when stress levels might have accumulated. Finally, the study has been done in the Finnish educational context where day care center directors' job description varies depending on municipality.
Practical implications
The findings provide important information about the causes of directors' work-related stress as well as their coping strategies and about factors that might be related to those.
Social implications
Because directors' stress impact on children’s development and well-being through teachers' well-being, it is crucial to pay attention on directors' well-being and provide more support for them.
The current study is among the few ones focusing on the stress of directors at early childhood education (ECE) settings.

Keywords: day care centres; managers and executives; work burden; stress (biological phenomena); coping; early childhood education and care

Free keywords: day care center director; educational leadership; occupational stress; coping strategies; early childhood education

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:27