Term of Award
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)
Document Type and Release Option
Dissertation (open access)
Copyright Statement / License for Reuse
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
College of Education
Dr. Steve Tolman
Committee Member 1
Dr. Antonio Gutierrez de Blume
Committee Member 2
Dr. Ashley Walker
As challenges surrounding mental health and well-being in doctoral graduate students (GAs), continue to rise, it is imperative that higher education institutions evaluate the stressors that GAs experience, their awareness and use of campus resources for dealing with stressors, and the impact that additional resources and programming may have on stress. The research questions for this study sought to examine the stressors experienced by doctoral level graduate students working in GA positions and their corresponding awareness and use of campus resources, and to determine what impact, if any, providing additional services, resources, and programming in had after a three-year implementation period from 2016 to 2019. This quantitative study utilized Lewin’s Change Model as a conceptual framework and Quick and Quick’s Theory of Preventative Stress Management as a theoretical framework. The population included 1,751 doctoral GAs during the Spring 2016 data collection, and 689 doctoral GAs in the 2019 survey data collection. Parametric statistics were used to analyze the two data sets collected for this study. Descriptive statistics and zero-order, bivariate correlations, Pearson’s r, were requested of the data to answer the first research question. To answer research questions two and three, a series of mixed-model ANOVAs (between-subjects and within-subjects) were conducted. Research question four used dependent paired samples to analyze measures of effect, proportion of variance, and to determine the impact of a change in resources, services, and programming on graduate student stress. The information in this study will contribute to decreasing the gap in recent research and literature on the subject of GA stress and provide a resource to higher education and graduate education leaders on mitigating GA stress. The findings of this study provide clear evidence that awareness of campus resources, services, and programming is a statistically significant intervention for mitigating GA stress and that the implementation of new campus resources, services, and programming lowered GA stress overall. This study provides practical implications and recommendations on using awareness as a prevention and intervention for GAs in crisis and the utilization of a survey on stress to establish a baseline for continuous improvement. The implications of this study are supported by the literature and can be generalized for use by education leaders for other populations and the recommendations for awareness campaigns that align with the student life cycle and enrollment management best practices are accessible and utilize limited resources.
Bruner, M. (2021) Dying for change: the impact of awareness prevention and intervention on graduate assistant stress
Research Data and Supplementary Material