The Impact of Social Support on Graduate Student Mental Health

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2014-08

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Abstract

The researcher conducted a two-part dissertation study examining the relationships among stress, social support and mental health outcomes for graduate students in the United States. Participants were recruited via online advertisements posted on social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) and one campus email system in the United States. The first part of the study examined the relationships among stress, social support and mental health outcomes and established an overall model explaining relationships among the variables. Social support served as a moderator between stress and mental health outcome (self-report of new depression and anxiety symptoms), which suggested receiving adequate social support was helpful for students to cope with stress, and served to decrease the intensity of mental distress symptoms. In the second part of the study, the researcher compared the group differences in the conceptual model established in the first study based on participants’ gender, level of study, and relationship status. The researcher found students’ gender and level of study (master’s degree versus doctoral degree of study) modified the model but participants’ relationship status (dating exclusively or not dating) did not influence the model. Implications for clinical practice and for future research conclude the dissertation.


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