Journal of
Physical Education and Sport Management

  • Abbreviation: J. Phys. Educ. Sport Manag.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6486
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPESM
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 74

Full Length Research Paper

Occupational stress coping strategies among lecturers in Ilorin metropolis, Nigeria

OLAITAN, Olukunmi Lanre
  • OLAITAN, Olukunmi Lanre
  • University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
  • Google Scholar
TALABI, Adebayo Ebun
  • TALABI, Adebayo Ebun
  • University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
  • Google Scholar
OLUMORIN, Charles Olabode
  • OLUMORIN, Charles Olabode
  • University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
  • Google Scholar
BRAIMOH, Kolawole Thomas
  • BRAIMOH, Kolawole Thomas
  • University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 07 April 2011
  •  Accepted: 07 May 2013
  •  Published: 30 September 2014


This study investigated occupational stress coping strategies among lecturers in Ilorin metropolis. The descriptive research design was employed and a total of one hundred and fifty (150) lecturers were selected from three (3) institutions, using a simple random sampling technique. Questionnaire was validated before using test re-test method of reliability with co-efficient ‘r’ 0.78. Five research hypotheses were formulated and data collected were analyzed using percentage and chi-square at 0.05 level of significant. The findings showed that, all the hypotheses were rejected. Based on the findings, recommendations and suggestions were made that could increase the interest of lecturers in Ilorin metropolis to participate in exercise activities for enjoyment and as occupational stress relief.


Key words: Occupational stress, Coping strategies, Lecturers, Physical Exercise.


According to latest health reports, stress is said to be one of the largest killer of man today (Health reports, 2008) Stress is now becoming more accepted as being crucially related to our total health-physical mental but emotional. According to the American Academy of Family Physician, majority of all physicians’ visit are prompt by stress related symptoms that are known to cause or worse medical condition (Ayurveda, 2008). Occupational stress is our responses to specific stimuli called ‘stress inducer’ and they are the events that generally produce stress in a workplace. They may be temporary or chronic, leading to negative health consequence or outcome changing a person‘s life. Although life itself is dependent upon a certain form of stress, it is only when stress is handled poorly by the body or mind that it becomes a health hazard (Olaitan, et al., 2010).

Two powerful body system cope with stress; the nervous system control the rapid body changes, While the endocrine system regulates the longer term pattern of stress response by relating  hormones into the blood. The adrenal activities the sympathetic nervous system, reducing the normalizing effects of body function. This increase the metabolic rate, heart rate, circulation and blood pressure. In addition, effectiveness of the digestive system is diminished and disturbance in sleep patterns become common (Ayurveda, 2008).

A certain amount of occupational stress occurs every second of one’s life in a workplace. There is no work without stress. However, crisis occurs when occupation stress is not manageable. Examples are students or works unrest, lecturer with load of teaching and make research work to be carried out in situation like this, it is the opinion of the researchers to draw attention of the general society, most especially lecturers to alert them on the basis of overcoming occupational stress through exercise activity which apparently has not been give much attention.

Lecturing Job and Stress


The response our bodies and minds have to the demands place on them – is a normal part of life and a normal part of any job (especially teaching job). What we think of ‘Lecturing job and stress’ is what happens when:

1. The challenge and demand of work become excessive.

2. The pressures of the institution surpass lecture’s ability

3. Satisfaction becomes frustration and exhaustion.

Workplace stress is usually the result of high demand on the job, real or perceives lack of control concerning those demands, poor day-to-day organization and communication and an unsupportive work environment (Olaitan, et al., 2010).

Exercise and stress

Exercise is the use of the body or mind that involves effort or activity. The search has shown that physical exercise is the best tension reliever. It is a very important remedy for occupational stress. Nothing eases occupational stress more than exercise. Exercise, when properly done, gives the body time to operate in the efficiency mode (Ellen, et al., 2007).

Benefit of exercise in managing Lecturers’ occupational stress

Physical exercise is immensely beneficial in managing occupational stress (Issac, 2006). This for several reasons:

Exercise helps reduce occupational stress not only by the biochemical’s it produces, but by reducing others produced by stress. When a person experiences occupational stress the sympathetic nervous system produces cortisone and hormones that – if left unaltered in the blood stream- produce harmful effect on blood vessels.

Exercise releases helpful chemicals in our brain and body that are good for body use.

1. Exercise develops and maintains a health body which directly reduces occupation stress susceptibility.

2. Occupational stress often produces exercise tense muscles, particularly in the neck, shoulder and calf muscles. Exercise activities can help loose these up, both as part of a general warm-up period and during the main workout.

Physical exercise improves cardiovascular function by strengthening the heart muscle, causing greater elasticity of the blood vessels, increasing oxygen throughout your body and lowering your blood levels of fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides. All of these, of course, mean less chance of developing disease heart conditions, such as strokes, or high blood pressure.

Mental exercise activities proves outlet for negative emotions such as frustration anger and irritability, thereby promoting a more positive mood and outlook exercise also warm and relaxes cold, thing muscles and tissues which contribute to occupational stress feelings.

1. Regular exercise reduces amount of adrenal hormones the body releases in response to occupational stress.

2. Exercise improves mood by producing positive biochemical change in the body and brain.

Also, exercise activity releases greater amounts of endorphins, the powerful, pain-relieving, mood – eleva-ting chemicals in the brain.

Exercise, therefore, will keep your body functioning properly and will keep body feel both relaxed, refreshed and promotes deep restful sleep (Adeyeye, 2007).

The psychological benefits from a regular exercise routine help to eliminate occupational stress.

Other psychological benefit follow from a regular workout. Improving overall health and fitness help pro-duce self-confidence. Beyond that, it helps lecturers realize that are exerting to improve their mind and body. That stress to overcome the feelings of helplessness and resultant passivity that so often accompany stress (James, 2007).

Purpose of the study

The purpose of the study is to assess coping strategies to overcome occupational stress among lecturers in Ilorin metropolis.


1. Exercise activities will not significantly overcome lecturers’ occupational stress.

2. Time schedule by the lecturers will not significantly and overcome lecturers’ occupational stress.

3. Lecturers’ interaction with students will not significantly overcome occupational stress.

4. Lecturers’ health status will not significantly overcome occupational stress

5. Office workload will not significantly depend on overcoming lecturers’ occupational stress.


A multi-stage sampling technique was adopted to select 150 lecturers from Ilorin metropolis, Kwara State, Nigeria. A total of 50 lecturers each were chosen from, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State Collage of Education, Ilorin and Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin. Some of the characteristics of the lecturers are shown in table 1. The questionnaire was developed by the researchers, which comprised two major areas. Section A, the personal information of the lecturers (5 items) and section B, occupational stress among lecturers (5 sub-sections) with responses in Likert rating scale format, thus; Strongly Agreed (SA), Agreed (A), Disagreed (D) and Strongly Disagreed (SD).

A test re-test method was used to ensure reliability. The reliability coefficient(r) 0.83 was obtained using thirty subjects from Ibadan metropolis, Oyo State, a separate population which is not part of the sampled population. To speed up the administration of the questionnaire 6 research assistants (2 to each institution) were employed and trained within two weeks, questionnaire were distributed and collected and the return rate was 100% that is 150.


Table  1  showed  that  33.3%  of  the  respondents  were chosen from each institution, 63.3% were male while 36.7% were female. Also 47.3% were Christians and 52.7% were Islam. The table revealed that 34.6% were within the age range of 26 to 35 year, 26.7% were within the range of 36 to 35years and 46 to 55 years apiece and 12% were within the age range of 56 years and above. Finally, 81.3% of the respondents were Yoruba, 12.7% were Igbo and 6% were Hausa.





In the hypotheses testing (table 2), since the calculated X2 which is 18.98 is greater than the table value X2 6, o 0.05= 1.64 the hypothesis was therefore rejected which means that overcoming occupational stress is dependent on use of exercise. The authors therefore concluded that exercise can be used to overcome occupational stress. This can be traced to the statement by Ellen, et al who concluded that, nothing eases stress more than exercise (Ellen, et al., 2007).





In hypothesis2, since the calculated X2 of 32.09 is greater than the table value X26, 0.05=1.64 the hypothesis was therefore rejected, which means that overcoming lecturers’ occupational stress is dependent on time schedule by the lecturers. The researchers therefore, concluded that time schedule by the lecturers can be use to overcome occupational stress. This is in line with Olaitan who asserted that, if every individual can programme their time well, they can incorporate relaxation in it to manage job stress (Olaitan, 2004).

In hypothesis 3,  since  the  calculated  X2  of  68.21 is greater than table value X26, 0.05=1.64 the hypothesis was therefore rejected, which means that overcoming occupational stress is dependent on the lecturers’ inter-action with students. The authors therefore concluded that lecturers’ interaction with students can be used to overcome occupational stress. The corroborates with Ellen, et al who said that, workplace stress is usually the result of high demands on the job and that there is need for individual worker to interact with other to relief them from occupational related stress(Ellen, et al, 2007).

In hypothesis 4, since the calculated X2 of 20.79 is greater than table value X26, 0.05=1.64 the hypothesis was therefore rejected, which means that that overcoming occupational stress depends on lecturers’ health status. It is therefore concluded that lecturers’ health status has effect on overcoming occupational stress. This is in support of Adeniyi who pointed out that, workers’ health can be protected through helping them to cope with stress, using various coping techniques (Adeniyi, 2000).

In hypothesis 5, since the calculated X2 of 38.14 is greater than table value X26, 0.05 = 1.37, thereby rejected the hypothesis, which means that overcoming occupational stress is dependent on office workload. It is therefore concluded that stress is dependent on office workload. This is confirmed by Copper who maintained that, job stress can hinder  effectiveness  at work and can lead to low performance (Copper, 2004).


All the variables studied were found to be important in that case, the general level of awareness and interest of lecturers in the use of exercise to overcome occupational stress must continue to increase tremendously throughout the institutions in Nigeria, more especially when the lecturers are conscious of its importance to life and their career. In fact, a certain amount of stress is necessary to be able to perform the daily task of our life. Too much occupational stress (especially constant, unrelieved stress) however, can result in physical and mental illness.


Finally, exercises that will aid good rest and sleep have been found to be very important in the maintenance of good health on those who take part in exercise activities. In the view of the conclusion drawn from this study, the following recommendations were put forth.

Lectures should attend seminars, workshops and con-ferences on occupational health services, so as to improve their knowledge on occupational stress and related issues.

Lecturers should be encouraged to participate in sport, exercise and fitness programmes in other to maintain a good health status.

Also, tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria should explore other models being adopted in the developed countries and seek alternative source creating time/day for exercise programme use for overcoming their occupational stress.

Orientation services should be provided for lecturers by professionals in the field of occupational health, exercise and fitness programme


The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.


The authors are grateful for the valuable comments and suggestions of Professor A. A. Adesoye,  Professor E. A. Ogunsakin, the Head of Department of Human Kinetics and Health Education, Professor S. A. Olorundare of the Department of Science Education, and Professor O. O. Obiyemi, Director of Institute of Education, all of the University of Ilorin, Kwara State. Also to my research assistants who are lectures of various institutions for taking pains to go round the selected collleagues for the distribution and collection of questionnaires


Adeniyi JA (2000). Introduction to occupational health. (1st Ed.), Ilorin: Haytee publishers.


Adeyeye FM (2007). Coping with stress of modern life. Contemporary Issues in Human Kinetics and Health Education pp.113-120


Ayurveda TR (2008). Stress management Retrieved 10/8/08, 12:35pm from



Copper CL. (2004). The stress check. New Jersey: Cishester; John Willy and Son.


Ellen JG, Robert SMA, Jaeline J (2007). Work and stress management. Retrieved from



Health Reports (2008). http://www.back-exercise-and-pain-relief. Com/office-chair-exercise. Retrieved10/8/2008,12:18pm.


Issac AY (2006). Managing and stress through exercise and recreation. Nigeria School Health J. 8(1):29-34.


James M (2007). Reducing stress through exercise. Retrieved from



Olaitan OL (2004). Education ergonomics; a means of eliminating academic stress. A paper presented at the NAPHER.SD day 24th April, 2004. University of Ilorin Nigeria.


Olaitan OL, Oyerinde OO, Obiyemi OO, Kayode OO (2010). Prevalence of jobstress among primary school teachers in south west Nigeria. Afr. J. Microbiol. Res. 4(5):339-342.