Investigation of Graduate Student Stress in Speech Language Pathology

The purpose of this research was to investigate the average stress levels and types of stressors experienced by graduate students (GS) in speech-language pathology (SLP) programs and the academic supports GS perceived to be helpful. An online survey examining stress was administered to 238 GS in SLP. The average stress level, types of stressors, demographic characteristics of participants related to their stress response, and reported academic program supports were analyzed. Correlation coefficients were computed to determine the relationship between reported stress, demographic variables, and program characteristics. Moderate and high levels of stress were reported by 96% of SLP GS as measured by the Academic Stress Scale. Lower levels of reported total stress were correlated with increased age, enrollment in a distance learning program, and being married or living with a partner. Participants most commonly mentioned frequent communication with faculty and access to on campus stress resources/education about stress management to be helpful. The results suggest that the majority of GS in SLP bear moderate and high levels of stress. Future research is warranted to investigate ways that faculty and student communication skills and academic supports can be implemented to aid in stress management.

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