Relationship among stress, coping, health, and GPA in clinical psychology doctoral students
This study investigated stress, coping, and health as factors related to success as a clinical psychology doctoral student. Previous research has indicated that graduate school is a stressful experience, in which students often feel a lack of control over their environment. It has also been demonstrated that poor coping mechanisms can lead to an increase in the perceived experience of stress. In addition, high stress and poor coping is indicative of poorer physical and mental health. It was hypothesized that students who are more successful in their graduate career would report lower levels of stress, employ more adaptive coping and less maladaptive coping, and be in relatively better health. It was also believed that students who are less successful in their graduate career will report higher levels of stress, employ more maladaptive coping and less adaptive coping, and be in relatively poorer health. One hundred seventeen doctoral student American Psychological Association (APA) members participated in this study. These students were selected as a result of convenience and in an attempt to get a sample from multiple schools in a variety of locations. Participants provided demographic information, a measure to assess student stress, the Brief Cope, and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). In this study the hypothesis failed to be confirmed However, further analysis demonstrated a relationship between higher levels of stress and higher levels of maladaptive coping. There was also a relationship between lower levels of health and higher levels of maladaptive coping and an association between higher levels of stress and poorer health. This study has implications for the training of doctoral students in clinical psychology as well as the need for stress management interventions.
0622: Clinical psychology