Inventory Development
 External Validity -- Experience

 

Do individuals close to teachers under stress perceive these teachers as being "stressed out"? One type of validating evidence comes from outside observers whose independent assessments of a teacher's stressful experiences parallel the individual teacher's self-rating. Limited data exist to indicate that individuals close to teachers-those coworkers, teachers, aides, wives, husbands, friends, and lovers termed "significant others"-might share their teaching friends' perceptions of how stressful their jobs are. Assuming that high-stress and low-stress teachers would manifest their stress levels in numerous ways to their significant others, it was hypothesized that the teachers' ratings and the significant others' ratings of the teachers' stressful experiences would be significantly congruent. Accordingly, a group of 47 regular education teachers were asked to rate their stress levels. They were also asked to have someone close to them -- their "significant other" -- rate how strongly they were experiencing stress, based on the others' verbal, nonverbal, and observational interactions with the teachers and using the initial form TSI. The data, reported in greater detail in Fimian (1986a), are presented in Table 15 . The teachers' ratings were found to be significantly related to those of their significant others, both in terms of each of the subscale (r range = .46 to .69; p = .001) and the Total Strength (r = .65; p = .001) scores. Teachers who scored highly on each of the TSI subscales and full scale were observed by their significant other as being subject to very strong stress. Conversely, those scoring low on the TSI were observed and rated by those close to them as being under little stress. Stress has typically been defined as being a "personal event," or something closely related to the perceptions of the person who comes under stress. Apparently, those perceptions are shared to a significant degree by those closely related to the teacher under stress as well (Fimian, 1986a).