Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Dena R. Kniess

Thesis Committee Member

Dianne Timm

Thesis Committee Member

Jody E. Stone


Utilizing qualitative methodology, participants' perceptions were examined to understand Resident Assistants' (RA) roles in relation to occupational stress and burnout, and the different coping mechanisms utilized by each of the six participants. Through conducting one-on-one interviews with RAs, it was found that participants experienced occupational stress and burnout from several influencers within the position. Participant's occupational stress was influenced by relational stress, administrative stress, boundary stress, and staff stress. Residents, administrative tasks/repetitiveness, staff, and recognition lead to feelings of burnout. Participants recommended taking personal time, maintaining social support, and avoiding procrastination as coping strategies for managing occupational stress and burnout. Recommendations for University Housing and Student Affairs Professionals were provided to gain insight into the challenges and stressors that face students who are in the RA position and other mechanisms to help decrease occupational stress and burnout.