Hess, Robyn S.

Committee Member

Kriescher, Stephanie

Committee Member

Helm, Heather

Committee Member

Duncan, Whitney


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Department of School Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

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Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



100 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Students in graduate school assume countless responsibilities that range from school-related work to personal commitments (e.g., El-Ghoroury et al., 2012; Myers et al., 2012), resulting in high levels of stress. In addition, those graduate students enrolled in applied psychology programs that focus on working with client populations must navigate clinical and field placement stressors. Dealing with high levels of stress over time paired with ineffective coping strategies can lead to a feeling of burnout. A growing body of research has indicated that appropriate self-care may effectively reduce high levels of stress and burnout (e.g., Kim et al., 2018; Rico & Bunge, 2020). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between reported levels of self-care, stress, and school burnout among graduate students in the applied areas of psychology (i.e., school, counseling, clinical). Additionally, a secondary purpose of this study was to explore potential differences among these variables between students of color and White students. Self-report data from 159 graduate students in applied areas of psychology were used, and the sample was separated into two groups based on whether they endorsed student of color status or White/European status. Correlations, independent t-tests, and a hierarchical linear regression were used to analyze the data. Results indicated that participants who endorsed higher levels of self-care had significantly lower levels of stress. Similarly, participants who endorsed higher levels of self-care endorsed statistically significantly lower levels of school burnout. Finally, higher levels of stress were significantly related to school burnout. Overall, no statistically significant differences between students of color and White/European students were found when looking at self-care, stress, or school burnout. Finally, both self-care and stress significantly explained levels of reported school burnout, but self-care was not a significant moderator for the relationship between stress and burnout. Discussion and implications of these findings are provided.

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