Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Randall H. Best


The study was to examine the types of stressful situations that graduate students encounter, to delineate styles for coping with these situations, and to determine if these coping styles affect academic achievement.

Three populations were used: Group I consisted of 22 graduates of the Clinical Psychology program at Eastern Illinois University (EIU), Group II consisted of 11 dropouts of the Clinical Psychology program, and Group III consisted of 23 currently-enrolled graduate students in the Psychology Department. It was anticipated that there would be a significant relationship between graduate students' coping styles and their academic achievement, and that Type I (competent) and Type II (less competent) graduate students would have different coping styles for stressful situations.

All subjects completed a questionnaire which included a cover letter outlining instructions, an information sheet, 26 descriptions or stressful situations, and rating scales for each situation. Analysis was based on the subject's age, number of years out of school, self-rated competency scores, undergraduate cumulative grade-point average (CGPA) scores, and ratings (responsibility, certainty, anxiety) of three types of stressful situations (academic problems, interpersonal problems, fate-failure) obtained from the questionnaire.

For Group III, a Pearson Correlation was used to investigate the relationship between subjects' CGPA scores and the variables of age, number of years out of school, self-rated competency, and ratings of coping styles for stressful situations to determine a relationship between the measures and CGPA scores.

For Groups I and II, six t-tests were run to determine differences between groups on the measures of age, number of years out of school, self-rated competency scores, and CGPA scores in order to establish a basis for differences in coping styles among graduate students.

Results indicate that graduate students' coping styles are not significantly related to academic achievement, and there was not a significant difference between graduates and dropouts to determine a difference among graduate students for comparison of coping styles.