The life of a professor is a balancing act, both professionally and personally. Professors must weigh the demands of research, publishing, teaching, and service with the requirements of their personal responsibilities. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to explore the role of stress on the work-life balance of a professor. This study was conducted by an interdisciplinary research team and included participants from a wide-range of academic fields. A mixed-methods approach, utilizing an electronic survey composed of demographic questions, Likert-scale responses, and open-ended questions, yielded data related to the benefits and challenges of being a professor from 31 states in the United States as well as from other countries. Structured interviews were then conducted to reveal the coping methods of the participants. In addition, this article incorporated embedded media in the form of audio sound bites and animated video, which provided the ‘voice’ of the faculty. The triangulated data revealed that lack of supports, both social and institutional, significantly increased the stress experienced by professors. Mechanisms for coping with stress that could be utilized by individual professors as well as institutional stress management strategies were discussed.


This article was originally published in Polymath: An Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Journal, 4(1), 39-58. At https://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JOTS/v37/v37n2/fazarro.html


College of Arts and Sciences at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Date of publication




Persistent identifier


Document Type


Publisher Citation

Delello, J. A., McWhorter, R. R, Marmion, S., Camp, K., Everling, K. M., Neel, J., & Marzilli, C. (2014). The life of a professor: Stress and coping. Polymath: An Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Journal, 4(1), 39-58.