Understanding US PETE Faculty Stress in the Sociopolitical Environment of Higher Education

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Teacher socialization theories have been extensively applied to understand the sociopolitical stressors faced by inservice physical education teachers. On the other hand, little is known as it relates to how physical education teacher education (PETE) faculty members experience and navigate stress in their jobs. Through the lens of occupational socialization theory, this study sought to understand US PETE faculty members’ experiences navigating the stress of their work in sociopolitical department and university environments. Participants included 36 US PETE faculty members (20 female, 16 male). Data were collected using in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Results highlighted the ways in which participants experienced and navigated the stress associated with their work environments. Specific themes included: (a) ambiguous, conflicting, and high expectations for performance contribute to role stress, (b) department cultures can challenge and marginalize physical education, (c) (development of) personal approaches and coping strategies to manage role stressors, and (d) networks of support are integral to faculty development and socialization. Results are discussed with implications for how various roles and the internalization of those roles impacted participants’ perceived stress while addressing the intra- and interpersonal strategies participants employ to navigate these stressors. Recommendations related to both doctoral education and continuous faculty development are provided and future directions for research are forwarded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-462
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2022


  • higher education
  • occupational socialization theory
  • qualitative methods
  • role stress
  • teacher education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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