Introduction: Stress at work is a growing problem for all workers, including women. Levels of stress related illness are nearly twice as high for women as for men. Job stress has been linked with cardiovascular
disease, musculoskeletal disorders, depression, and burnout. Early detection and prevention of stress in the
workplace is strongly supported. Stress assessment is a prerequisite of stress ... [Show full abstract] management program
Aim of the study: This study aimed at assessing sources and level of stress that may affect female
university teaching staff and their stress management practices.
Methods: A survey was conducted among female teaching staff of King Saud University in Riyadh,
Saudi Arabia. A pre-coded self-administered questionnaire was designed using Personal Stress Inventory.
Five colleges out ofthe 15 girls' colleges of the university were selected randomly where 225 questionnaires
were distributed to all female teaching stafT and only 159 completed questionnaires were returned (70.6%
Results: The mean age of the teaching staff enrolled in the study was 38.2+8.6 years and mean work years
was 7.5+9.2. The major source of stress was the personal factors (77.4%), meanwhile work stress affected
58.5% and family/hornestresses affected 37.7% of them. Only 18.2% of the staff had high sum score for
exhaustion symptoms. Frequently reported symptoms were tension/anxiety (46.5%), and musculoskeletal
(28.9%), and depression (21.4%). Such symptoms were significantly related to higher level of stress.
Teaching staff had problems in active coping to stress as 99.4% and 83% of them had weaknesses in taking
direct action and support seeking. A considerable proportion (48.4%) had a problem in diversion/tension
release active coping. High level of home/family and work stresses were significantly related to difficulty
managing tension (p<O.OO1). Also, weakness in support seeking coping practices was significantly related
to difficulty in managing tension (p=O.013). Weakness in social support-seeking was significantly evident
among those who had high level of work (OR= 4.24), family/home (OR= 2.88), or personal stress (OR=
2.94). Meanwhile, average tension release coping practices was significantly related to high home/family
stress (OR= 0.39), high work stress (OR= 0.58) and high personal stress (OR= 0.44). Multivariate analysis
has demonstrated that age, job category, number of children, or residence were statistically significant
independent predictors of high level of home/family, work or personal stress.
Conclusion: Female university teaching staff is exposed to a great deal of stress related to work', family
and personal factors. This situation is compounded by difficulties in managing stress, weak active coping
actions and appearance of stress related symptoms. Stress affecting female staff in general should be reduced
to tolerable levels to avoid stress related diseases. Health promotion programs based on self-empowerment
educational approach is strongly recommended to teach effective stress management techniques and
encourage stress coping and support activities.