Analysis of Stress, Coping Strategies, and Academic Success in PT, OT, and PA Students: Updated Results

Shelby Brunick, SPT, Cooper Hausmann, SPT, and Brittany Neagbour, SPT

DPT2019 Stress Coping Academic Success Brunick Hausmann Neagbour

(Click on image to expand)

25 Comments on “Analysis of Stress, Coping Strategies, and Academic Success in PT, OT, and PA Students: Updated Results

  1. This is an interesting study and I appreciate the work that has been done. On the self reported GPA, is this intended to cumulative, or since joining the professional program ect?
    It would be interesting to continue this study longitudinally post graduation, to ascertain further correlations. Well done and interesting. Neat and tidy poster. Could be more appealing with a px, but then not sure what that would be for this study.

    Like

    • Leonard, self-reported GPA is based on their GPA since starting their graduate program. I agree that it would be interesting to see how stress and coping strategies would change post graduation. Would stress decrease or just change in the now working professional? The answer to that question would be fascinating.

      Like

  2. I thought the information was clearly presented both in the text and images. This is a topic that is extremely relevant for where I find myself right now in the midst of graduate school. One further topic I think would be interesting to explore is the GPA of the students in their undergraduate programs and their associated perceived stress levels during this time to see if it carries over to what is being experienced in the graduate studies. Would some students be more prone to stress based on their personality or personal ambitions that are more innately ingrained within them? It would also be interesting to see how the stress management and coping strategies may change as someone progresses into the professional field or if the strategies and stress levels would maintain relatively consistent.

    Like

    • Thanks for posting Justine! I agree that it would be interesting to look at the students undergraduate GPA to see if that plays into their stress. I think it might be challenging to look at their stress at that time, but i do agree that it would be interesting and the stress might carry over into graduate school.

      Like

  3. Nice job sharing your research information as it was clear and easy to read. Why did you choose the instruments that you did? Are there any other scales that you would include in future research?

    Like

    • We picked those scales because we wanted to look at perceived stress, self-esteem, coping, and social support. We wanted to see if these scales showed a connection with stress and to analyze how people cope. For future research I think it would be interesting to look at personality (type A vs Type B) and to see if that has a correlation with stress and coping.

      Like

  4. I found this research poster very applicable to my current situation. While graduate school is stressful, I have found myself more stressed as of recently. I wonder what the results would like in a long-term follow up of the participants? Also what do you think results would be across other universities? What do you think the results would be if you looked at just one discipline/do you think more people would participate if you narrowed your subjects?

    Like

  5. Great job presenting your research project through the use of this research poster. It was well organized and easy to read. I thought this was a very interesting and relative topic for graduate school students. The title says “Updated Results”; how long has this study been going on before your group started the research process and have the results been similar? Has there been another study done like this that you found in your literature review?

    Like

    • This is the second year of similar research. Our research found significance in the MDSPSS-friends subscale, RSES, and CSES based on self-reported GPA category. The class of 2018 found significance between self-reported GPA and the PSS, RSES, and CSES. This might be due to amount of participants in the class of 2018 (24) and class of 2019 (68). There are studies done on stress, but not many have been done on PT, OT, and PA students.

      Like

  6. This was a particularly interesting topic to look at since it is so relevant to where I’m at right now (first year of PT school). Were you surprised to see the correlation between higher GPAs and decreased stress? In my personal opinion, it makes sense to see higher GPAs correlating with better self-esteem and higher self-efficacy, but there is a part of me that finds it surprising to see decreased stress as well. I say this because it would seem like it might potentially increase stress and pressure to have to study more to maintain those high grades. What are your thoughts?

    Like

    • We are not able to say for certain why those with higher GPAs have less stress since we did not complete any research on that specifically. However, we can speculate that those with higher GPAs might have less stress because they have a high GPA. Since they have a higher GPA they might not feel the constant stress of having to keep their grades up unlike students with lower GPAs. If they do poorly on a test or assignment it is not going to effect their overall grade if they had done well on previous assignments and tests leading to potentially less stress.

      Like

  7. Good work guys! Have you guys thought about looking into what undergraduate degree people have and if there is any correlation between their prior degree and their current stress levels?

    Like

    • That would be very interesting, Zach. It would not be hard to include a question about undergraduate major. For purposes of preventing stress from mounting we would be interested in any correlations in undergrad major and stress/coping, however from a perspective of helping current students we would not be able to modify that risk factor.

      Like

  8. This was a very interesting study; thank you for the information. I am curious about your opinion on the success of open ended questions in your survey. On the one hand it allows for an individualized response (as you said stress is unique to each person). One the other hand, it may generate too many unique responses that can not be grouped together or correlated. Did you find any difficulties with the responses to the open ended questions, or did most responses seem to fall into common categories. And if they did fall into common categories would you switch to providing a survey with these categories in the future? Or would you stick to open ended responses?
    Thank you!

    Like

  9. Good question Elizabeth! For the most part our open-ended questions were easily grouped into categories. However, we did have some questions that did not fit easily into any of the categories. It helped that we made our own categories based off of the responses from the open-ended questions instead of having preset categories. Going forward with further research based on the responses we have received it would be easier to send out surveys with pre-determined categories instead of open-ended questions. You could also leave an Other option to allow them to type a response if they don’t see a category that fits them.

    Like

  10. Very clear and easy to read poster! Well done! I can see where those with good GPAs tend not to have as much stress. I think generally there is more stress to perform when you are not doing well within your classes than if you are able to stay on top of the material and succeed. I was curious if you looked into the social support aspect, through the MDSPSS, as to if their loved ones (family, friends, and significant other) are geographically close to Vermillion? Personally, I am able to have more family support in graduate school due to Vermillion being in close proximity of my family which leads to a decrease in my stress even when attending graduate school. I wonder if there would be a difference between having that support physically nearby versus being farther away from one’s support system.

    Like

    • I think it would have a big impact on a graduate students stress based on if family, friends, and loved ones are close. I think it would be interesting to look at the more closely and it could be something that they do in this future study.

      Like

  11. Nice work! Your poster looks great and the tables are really easy to follow! Did you happen to look at what year the students were when they answered the survey, PT1 vs PT3 for instance? I noticed that you stated program, graduation year, age, and real time were not of significance, what is meant by real time? Since our last year of physical therapy school (I’m not sure about the other programs) is mainly clinical rotations and less about exams and GPAs, I am wondering if that would have an effect on perceived stress. It would also be interesting to survey students after they have graduated from these programs to determine if those who reported more stress during their programs still report more stress after graduating and moving into the workforce. What are your thoughts?

    Like

    • Jessie, we did look at the demographic information regarding the survey and found that 23 participants from the class of 2017, 25 from the class of 2018, 15 from the class of 2019, and 5 from the class of 2020 responded to our survey. Real time refers to the time of year that they completed the survey ex: orientation ’17, fall ’17, and spring ’18. I believe that you would still have some perceived stress in your clinical year. Students start studying for boards and you might not have exams but you are being graded and critiqued by clinical instructors. We had talked about sending surveys out to past graduates to see how their stress has changed since graduating. It would be interesting to see the results of a longitudinal study where past graduates complete the survey 1 year and 5 years post graduation to see if participants stress levels have changed.

      Like

  12. Great article! I think stress is an ever-growing issue with graduate students. I have a few hypothesis questions on the predictors of stress. It was noted that the majority of subjects were female. It can be proposed that males and females have different coping strategies. How accurately can this study generalize to the male population? Thank you!

    Like

    • Tanner, thanks for the question. I believe we can generalize the results to males, however due to the homogeneous group more participation over years of the research would give us a more clear picture of whether or not females do experience more stress in comparison to their male counterparts.

      Like

  13. Did you look at what additional activities subjects were taking part in? For example, do students who volunteer more or hold leadership responsibilities experience more stress? Or do they have better coping strategies?

    Like

    • Good question Hannah! We actually did not look at additional activities, but that would be an interesting thing to look at when it comes to future research and stress. They might find that those with leadership positions have better time management skills which could lead to decreased stress, but it could also be more stress due to the increase in activities.

      Like

  14. Nice job! Just a few questions: Is it likely that students ignored the participation e-mails (thus, not participating) altogether due to higher amounts of stress? How might the results change if the survey(s) were not voluntary? How might these two scenarios affect your results? Thanks!

    Like

    • Austin, it is very likely participants ignored the email due to stress or the additional time commitment it would take to complete the survey. This survey was also supposed to be taken multiple times throughout the students time in the program and that might also have played a role in why they did not complete the survey. I’m not sure if the results would change if everyone was to take the survey. We would have had a larger number of people to then generalize the results to, but I cannot say that if everyone were to take the survey the results would have changed.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s