Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Joyce Miller DNP, RN

Second Advisor

Kritin M McHale DNP, RN


Inhaled Aromatherapy for Stress Reduction for Head Start Teachers

A quasi-experimental study identified inhaled aromatherapy as an effective modality for stress reduction for Head Start teachers. Workplace stress is prevalent in many professions and stress is proven to be harmful to physical and emotional health. This study explored the stressors and stress responses that Head Start teachers experience. Head Start teachers encounter a tremendous amount of workplace stress, and current interventions are aimed at proposing techniques to decrease classroom stressors. There is a research gap on how to help teachers minimize their stress reactions through self-care practices. Aromatherapy, a self-care practice, is the use of essential oils to promote wellness, especially stress reduction. A quantitative research study was conducted with twenty Head Start teachers at a Northern California Head Start program. Each teacher created an aromatherapy inhaler using their choice of a combination of lavender, rosemary, orange, or lime essential oils. The teachers completed a Likert style Stress Evaluation Tool both before, and after, using the essential oil inhaler for one workweek. Teachers used the inhaler an average of 8.8 times during the week. Statistical analysis was calculated using the t-test for dependent variables, which compared the differences between the means before, and after, the aromatherapy intervention. The results were significant with p ≤ 0.0001. Results of this study indicate that inhaled aromatherapy is an effective modality for stress reduction with Head Start teachers. Further studies are needed to determine if inhaled aromatherapy for stress reduction is generalizable to other Head Start teachers, or other occupations that have stressful workplace environments.