Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The purpose of the study was to examine relationships between indices of teacher alienation behavior (TAB) and (a) teacher perceptions of multiple dimensions of the work environment, (b) environmental robustness, and (c) teacher personal life characteristics. Teacher perceptions of the work environment and the robustness of key roles in the school organization were explored as factors contributing to the holding power of school. Twenty teachers at each of 97 schools in a large urban school district in Louisiana were randomly selected. Each teacher responded to an instrument set containing a demographic data form, Job Satisfaction Scale (JSS) (Johnson, 1955), Robustness Semantic Differential (RSD) (Willower and Licata, 1978), and Teacher Life Characteristics Index (TLCI) (developed for this study). Teacher-related data (number of sick days, number of professional leave days, number of teachers on sabbatical leave, and teacher turnover) and student-related variables (student achievement data, student attendance data, student retention rates, and SES data) were collected by school. Extrinsic factor analyses were completed to shorten and revise the JSS and a series of correlations were computed to test the research hypotheses. Correlations between TAB and (a) JSS, (b) RSD, and (c) TLCI were low and nonsignificant. The correlation between student achievement data and the JSS subscale "Perceptions of the Job" was negative, low, and nonsignificant. Correlations between RSD concepts and student achievement and between RSD concepts and student attendance were positive, moderate, and statistically significant. Correlations between RSD concepts and student retention rates were negative, low, and statistically significant. The major implications of the study were (a) the JSS is a three-subscale instrument rather than a nine-subscale instrument; (b) the JSS and the RSD as indices of school holding power were more strongly related to student-related variables than to teacher-related variables; (c) positive teacher perceptions of the environment may reach a satiation level reflecting "complacency" in low achieving schools; and (d) increasing the environmental robustness may increase the holding power of schools and result in increased attendance and student achievement and decreased student retention rates. Implications of the findings for future research and theory development were discussed.