STRESS MANAGEMENT AND STUDENT CONTROL904
strategies at work than other professionals (Wilson, 2002). Different types of
stress are differentially related to work outcomes yet are positively related to
psychological strain (Boswell, Olson-Buchanan, & LePine, 2004). Different
people find help in different coping strategies (Everard & Morris, 2003).
Locus of control theory is a concept in both psychology and sociology.
Individuals with an internal locus of control believe they are in control of
events in their lives. They experience more success in coping with stressful
situations than do those who attribute the outcomes of the events in their lives
to outside sources such as fate or luck (Chandler, 1985; Linn & Hodge, 1982).
The situational and dispositional coping styles are related to each other. People
tend to use relatively stable coping styles both in general and in specific events.
Personality traits are moderately related with coping and this finding indicates
that the constructs are different from each other (Ekşi, 2004).
Numerous studies have been carried out during the last 30 years of various
relationships between control ideology and a number of other variables such
as climate, organizational health, and personality. Glasser (1986) identified two
types of teachers: Boss teachers, who depend on the rules and consequences
method and use rewards and punishment to get students to do what the teachers
want, and lead teachers who, on the other hand, make aligning lessons and
assignments with students’ basic needs their primary business. In this way, they
avoid the necessity of a reward system. A grading system is used for assessment,
but only as a temporary indicator, not a reward. Ideally, the students are engaged,
deeply motivated learners, and not just children completing busy work and
predetermined requirements. Brophy (1988) hypothesized the existence of two
conceptions of classroom control that are alternatives to those based on effective
teaching and management. These two alternative conceptions, either overly
authoritarian or overly nurturing, could be the source of difficulties for new
Classroom management and student discipline continue to be the most
commonly expressed concerns among teachers, parents, school administrators,
and students (Bowman, 2001; Cangelosi, 2004). In the literature, although
there has been much research into teacher stress (Arikewuyo, 2004; Kyriacou,
1987; McConaghy, 1992; Okebukola & Jegede, 1992) and the locus of control
of teachers, there is no study about the relationship between prospective
teachers’ strategies for coping with stress and their perceived student control
style. Therefore this study was conducted in order to explore and obtain some
understanding of this relationship.
STRESS MANAGEMENT AND STUDENT CONTROL 905
The research was based on a relationship survey model designed to provide
some understanding of the relationships between prospective teachers’ preferred
strategies for coping with stress and their perceptions of student control.
Relational survey models are designed to identify the existence or level of
coordinate change between two or more variables.
The sample was obtained from departments of a Faculty of Education using
the stratified cluster sampling method. The participants included only willing
students from the Faculty of Education in Kırşehir, Turkey − 267 prospective
teachers who were senior class students in four departments (Turkish, Social
Studies, Science, and Classroom Teachers) formed the sample of this research.
To define the relations between ways of coping with stress and perceived locus
of student control, two scales were used. The Ways of Coping Scale (WCS) is a
4-point Likert-type scale, originally developed by Lazarus and Folkman (1984).
The scale was adapted for the Turkish culture and shortened to 30 items by Şahin
and Durak (1994). Factor analyses revealed 5 factors, namely, Self-confident
approach (α = .80), Helpless approach (α = .73), Submissive approach (α = .70),
Optimistic approach (α = .68), and Receiving social support (α = .47).
The Scale of Locus of Student Control (SLCC) is a 20-item 5-point Likert-
type scale (Miller et al., 1988). This scale was adapted for the Turkish culture by
Abacı (1994). Factor analyses revealed four factors: authoritarian attitude, ruler
attitude, helping students, supporting students. To define the factor structure of
the SLCC techniques of Kaiser Meyer Oklin = .83 and Bartlett Analysis (p < .01)
were used. Varimax rotation was used for factor analysis. It was found that SPM
was one dimension and factor loadings ranged from 0.31 and 0.69. The Cronbach
alpha reliability coefficient was found to be α = .74 for the whole scale. For the
subgroups it was found to range from .70 to .89. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient
was calculated in order to establish reliabilities of the instruments (Karadağ,
Data Collection and Analysis
Data in the research were gathered from 267 student teachers (senior class)
at the Educational Faculty in Kırşehir, Turkey. The Pearson moment correlation
technique was used to analyze data to determine whether or not there was a
relationship between prospective teachers’ coping with stress and their perceived
locus of student control.
STRESS MANAGEMENT AND STUDENT CONTROL906
The findings from correlation analysis of the relationships between prospective
teachers’ coping strategies and their perceptions of student control are given in
Pearson Moment Correlation Analysis of the Relationship Between Prospective
Teachers’ Preferred Strategies for Coping with Stress and Their Perceptions of
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Ways of Coping with Stress
1 Self-confident approach -
2 Helpless approach .301** -
3 Submissive approach .241** .340** -
4 Optimistic approach .227** .288** .350** -
5 Receiving social support .150* .222** .215** .464** -
Locus of Student Control
6 Authoritarian attitude .048 -.018 -.124* -.093 -.010 -
7 Supporting the students .058 -.121* .002 -.023 .064 .141* -
8 Helping the students .005 -.003 .009 .017 -.033 .117 .218** -
9 Ruler attitude .017 .196** .123* .034 .105 .216** .408** .173** -
N = 267 * p < .05; ** p < .01
Table 1 shows the results of Pearson product-moment correlation between
stress management and perceived locus of student control. Table 1 shows that
there is a statistically meaningful negative relationship (r = -.121) between
the Helpless approach to coping with stress and the dimension of Supporting
attitudes in the perceived student control. There is also a statistically meaningful
positive relationship (r = .196) between the Helpless approach to coping and
the Ruler attitude in perceived student control. That is, Pearson correlation
indicates that there is a negative relation between the Helpless approach to stress
and Supporting the students in student control and a positive linear relationship
between the Helpless approach to stress and the Ruler attitude in student control.
To the extent that the prospective teachers used the Helpless approach in order
to cope with stress, their perceptions of helping the students (in student control)
decreased and, to the extent that they used the Helpless approach their Ruler
attitude increased. For the other aspects of coping strategies and perceived locus
of student control, no significant correlation (p > .05) was found.
STRESS MANAGEMENT AND STUDENT CONTROL 907
Stress is defined by Güçlü (2001) as a neutral physiological phenomenon,
in terms of the nonspecific response of the human body to any demand. Stress
might be positive or negative, a stimulus or a threat. It is necessary to cope with
stress in order to protect the health of both body and mind (Pehlivan, 2000).
In the present study findings show that prospective teachers mostly prefer the
Helpless approach in order to cope with stress. Dealing with stress, or coping, is
defined by Lazarus and Folkman (1984) as a process aimed at the management
of external and internal demands which are appraised to be severely taxing or
even exceeding an individual’s resources.
Additionally, Lazarus and Folkman (1984) suggested that there are two broad
functions of coping − namely, emotion-focused coping and problem-focused
coping. Emotion-focused coping refers to efforts to regulate an emotional
response and ultimately alleviate emotional symptoms of distress, specifically
through an increase in tolerance for negative events, or the stabilization of
emotional balance (Cohen & Lazarus, 1973). Problem-focused coping, on the
other hand, describes actions or cognitions dealing with, or altering, the source
of stress itself (Folkman & Lazarus, 1980) − that is, the minimization of harmful
environmental aspects. According to the researchers, employment of emotion-
focused versus problem-focused coping depends on an individual’s perception
and appraisal of the situation at hand. In the process of a potentially stressful
encounter, different types of appraisals are employed: Primary appraisal refers
to an evaluation of the situational characteristics. An individual may evaluate
any situation as being irrelevant, benign, or stressful with respect to his or her
own well-being. In a second step within primary appraisal, a potentially stressful
situation is evaluated as involving either harm-loss, threat, or challenge.
In this study it is shown that prospective teachers prefer an emotion-focused
coping strategy. In many studies, it has been shown that college students mostly
use the Helpless approach as a coping strategy (Morris, Brooks, & May, 2003;
Zurlo, Pes, & Cooper, 2007).
Park,Armeli, and Tennen (2004) noted that among different motives underlying
college students’ alcohol use, inability to cope with stress is believed to be most
closely linked with the development of problem drinking and the failure to
mature out of heavy drinking following graduation. However, much of what is
known about stress and alcohol use among college students comes from studies
that reveal little about the fast-moving, intraindividual processes outlined in
According to the findings from this research, prospective teachers prefer a
Ruler attitude and an Authoritarian attitude the least in perceived student control.
Dönmez and Başal (1985) observed that adults tend to focus on rules in semi-
STRESS MANAGEMENT AND STUDENT CONTROL908
traditional and semidemocratic society. It seems that prospective teachers in
Turkey exhibit a Helpless approach to stress and a Ruler attitude towards student
management. This suggests that when they were students in the faculty, they did
not learn strategies for coping with stress or prepare well for professional life.
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