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Principals play a pivotal role in performance of students in secondary schools. In many instances, this calls for high professional and societal demands, and expectations. As a result, principals experience stress. Studies in countries like USA, Britain, Norway, India, Nigeria and Kenya have revealed that optimal stress among principals enhances students’ performance in public examinations while excessive stress reduces students’ performance. In Rachuonyo North and Homa Bay Sub counties, the mean scores for schools headed by female principals from 2010 to 2014 were 3.77 and 4.20 respectively compared to those headed by male principals whose mean scores were 5.05 and 5.67 for the same period. Occupational Stress
These performances were below those of Rachuonyo South Sub County which were 4.67 for female principals and 5.20 for male principals for the same period. The performances of schools headed by female principals’ were lower than those headed by male principals. These studies have linked stress among principals to students’ performance. The purpose of this study was to establish factors influencing stress among public secondary school female principals in public secondary schools in Rachuonyo North and Homa Bay Sub counties, Kenya. Occupational Stress
This study established that female principals in Rachuonyo North and Homa Bay Sub counties were experiencing moderate stress at a mean (M) 3.37 and Standard Deviation (SD) 1.290 on a 5 –point scale. Stress factors accounted for 52.9% of female principals stress levels. The factors that had highest influence on stress levels of female principals were working environment (M 3.67, SD = 1.287), pursuit for excellence (M = 3.65, SD = 1.033), conflicting demands from stakeholders (M =3.68), SD = 1.156), lack of time to teach and attend to administrative tasks (M =3.373, SD = 1.122), workload (M =3.54, SD = 1.260), uncertainty in job expectations (M =3.97, SD = 1.166), undisciplined teachers (M =3.58, SD = 1.357) and staff shortage (M =3.78, SD = 1.357).
The government of Kenya is concerned with the global agenda of achieving education for all. The academic performance of students has become a great concern to stakeholders of education.This has led the government to formulate and implement policies to improve academic performance. Stress has also been found to be a major contributing factor to academic performance.