Date of Award

Spring 4-27-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Carlos Guzman

Second Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Greenberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Zhana Preston


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to describe the perceived occupational stressors experienced by moderate to severe teachers of special day class (SDC) in Riverside and San Bernardino counties and how these stressors affect teacher longevity. An additional purpose of this study was to discover the perceptions of moderate to severe teachers of SDC setting on the importance of (EI) characteristics-self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management on their management of occupational stressors and longevity in the teaching profession.

Methodology: The study used a qualitative phenomenological research design to explore the occupational stressors of special education teachers in an SDC setting and their perceptions on the importance of EI characteristics as a stress management tool. An interview instrument was used to gather data from a study sample of 12 moderate to severe teachers in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Data were collected using interviews, observations, and artifacts. NVivo software was used to analyze data for emerging themes and patterns.

Findings: A comprehensive analysis of the data yielded 37 themes with 764 frequencies aligned with the four domains of EI—self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management as it relates to occupational stress management and longevity variables. Major findings revealed occupational stressors that will affect teacher longevity and the importance of EI characteristics for each domain in managing occupational stressors and keys to sustaining longevity.

Conclusions: Emotional intelligence as a stress management concept is a vital tool for moderate to severe teachers in managing their occupational stressors and maintaining longevity. Relationship management domain of EI and support from administrators with prior special education experience proved to be extremely important in an SDC setting.

Recommendations: This research study can be replicated in various forms such as using the same counties for mild to moderate teachers or general education teachers. Lastly, current study can be extended to different regions in California or the U.S. and compare findings.