Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Stress in adolescence--Iowa; School size--Iowa; School size; Sex differences (Psychology); Stress in adolescence; Iowa;


Due to financial difficulties many communities have consolidated their schools. Consolidation has resulted in larger schools than in the past and, possibly, a more stressful environment for adolescents. This study examined the perceived stress level of adolescents attending schools classified as IA, 2A, 3A, and 4A. The secondary purpose was to investigate gender differences in perceived stress. It was hypothesized that school size would have no effect on perceived stress as reported by adolescents. Also, based on previous literature, it was hypothesized that there would be gender differences in the perceived stress of adolescents.

The participants (N = 732) in this study were from eight different Iowa schools (age 14-19). There were two schools from each division. The participants responded to the School Stressor Inventory for Adolescents (SSIA).

The null hypothesis that school size would have no effect on the perceived stress of adolescents was not supported. More specifically, students from the larger schools (3A and 4A) reported significantly higher stress than the students from the smaller schools (IA and 2A). The stress scores from Division III students were significantly higher than those from Division II and Division I students. There were however, no significant differences between stress scores of Division I and II, Division I and IV, Division II and IV, or Division III and IV. The main effect for gender was not significant. Therefore, the research hypothesis that there would be gender differences in perceived stress was not supported. The interaction of Division and Gender was also not significant. The results of the study indicated that larger schools increase stress in adolescents. In addition, no differences were found in the perceived stress of females and males.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Sharon Huddleston

Second Advisor

Dennis Cryer

Third Advisor

Thomas Davis


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