A Cross-Sectional Study to Examine Occupational Stress Between Online and On-Ground Educators

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Institution Granting Degree

Walden University

Cedarville University School or Department

Pharmacy Practice

First Advisor

Morton Wagenfeld

Second Advisor

Hadi Danawi

Third Advisor

Monica Gordon


Occupational stress, public health, higher education, telecommuting, distance learning, teachers


Telecommuting is becoming increasingly common as more students turn to online education and additional institutions begin offering online courses. However, little research has been conducted on how an online work environment affects the overall health and occupational stress of educators. This quantitative cross-sectional comparative study used the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health occupational stress model to determine if stress levels and associated health outcomes vary among educators based on work environment. Occupational stress has been identified as the most damaging form of stress, leading to lost work hours, low productivity, numerous health issues, and high health care costs. This study used a survey sent to 1,000 instructors to compare undergraduate online educators who work remotely, undergraduate educators who work in an on-ground university, and undergraduate educators who work in a mixed environment. A series of 1-way ANOVAs were used to test hypotheses. It was found that there was a significant difference in self-reported stress levels across groups, with on-ground educators experiencing more stress than online educators. No significant difference existed in health outcomes across groups. Findings from this study can be used to create positive social change by addressing the stress levels of educators and developing stress-related prevention for this growing population. This could result in better control of stress and improved health outcomes associated with stress, thus leading to positive social change.