Dr. Steve Jex & Dr. Kristin Horan


The current study aimed to provide an overview of graduate students’ stress and coping mechanisms. Per self-reported questionnaires, participants (N=95) rated their experiences with academic-related stressors, common coping mechanisms, and strain outcomes (somatic symptoms, insomnia, and burnout). This study found that task-related stressors were the most prevalent for graduate schoolwork. More specifically, graduate students in STEM, Arts & Humanities, and Social Sciences rated the amount and difficulty of the tasks (quantitative and qualitative properties of tasks) as the highest stressors in graduate school. The preferred coping strategies across all fields were planning and emotional coping. Additionally, students in STEM reported more significant organizational constraints and interpersonal conflict than graduate students in Arts & Humanities, and Social Sciences. Finally, students in Arts & Humanities reported more maladaptive coping mechanisms than students in the other two groups. These findings can guide program directors and administrators in informing initiatives to enhance graduate students’ well-being.

About the Author

Sandra grew up in Bogota, Colombia. She graduated with a B.S. in Psychology minoring in Leadership Studies and Writing and Rhetoric. She was part of the UCF Knights of Distinction program, a McNair scholar and LEAD scholar alumnus. Her research journey started when she joined the UCF Occupational Health Psychology. She worked two summers at the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked on topics including negotiation, leadership rhetoric, diversity, and inclusion. Her ultimate goal is to utilize a Ph.D. to conduct research and help organizations create an inclusive culture and wellness in the workplace.

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