CCE Theses and Dissertations

The Effect of Distress on the Quality of Computer Programming

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Science


Center for Computer and Information Sciences


John Kingsburry

Committee Member

Gerorge K. Fornshell

Committee Member

E.L Metcalf


Quality means meeting or exceeding customer expectations. Quality of computer programming has become a part of the quality emphasis within business enterprises. The research demonstrates negative stress (distress) on Information Systems professionals lowers the quality of the computer programs produced by these professionals. The result is higher cost and lower customer satisfaction.

The research measured distress levels for sample populations of programmers in seven business enterprises over a three year period. These distress levels were then compared to the programming quality levels in the enterprises for the same periods.

The research results show episodic distress has a correlation coefficient of -0.38160 with programming quality, while situational distress has a correlation coefficient with programming quality of -0.24939. These results indicate both episodic distress and situational distress contribute to poor programming quality, and support the introduction of stress reduction efforts in the Information Systems profession.

Stress reduction among programming professionals should concentrate on reducing the vulnerability of the individual to a stressor and changing the context in which the stressor is received. Successful treatment of distress among Information Systems professionals should yield economic, sociological, political, psychological, and environmental benefits.

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