Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Higher Education (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


John Murry

Committee Member

Christopher Rosen

Second Committee Member

Ketevan Mamiseishvili


Social sciences; Education; Chief financial officer; Coping; Stress


The purpose of this study was to measure and report the perceived stress among research postsecondary institution chief financial officers. A non-experimental descriptive approach was used in this investigation. Research questions were developed to describe and seek any differences in stress among the respondents. The population for this study was chief financial officers in research institutions based on the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching but excluded CFOs that had responsibility over multiple campuses, medical or professional schools and any vacant positions. The sample consisted of 90 respondents from public and private institutions. Data was collected by a self-reported survey which was a combined instrument using the Perceived Stress Scale, House & Rizzo's Tension Survey, and an amended Maslach Burnout Inventory. Demographic data was collected on the respondents and coping techniques were recorded using an open-ended self-reporting question.

Responses indicated that the respondents report moderate levels of stress and parallels previously conducted research. The respondents also claim coping techniques such as exercise, relaxation with friends and family, hobbies and personal activities, spirituality and religious activities to reduce stress which also is consistent with previous research. There was no significance found among the respondents based upon the demographic makeup.

Stress is an inevitable occurrence in life, especially for those who have great responsibilities, such as a university CFO. Occupational stress costs include loss of production due to absenteeism, increased medical insurance premiums and a myriad of health problems, just to name a few. For employers the best ways to help their employees cope with stress could include Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), stress intervention programs, or mandated vacation to name a few solutions.