Kempner, Kimberly Pruitt (2009-05). The effects of ethical climate and faculty-student relationships on graduate student stress. Doctoral Dissertation.
The purpose of this study was to empirically investigate the impact of departmental ethical climate (climate) and primary student-faculty relationship (support) on graduate student stress (stress). Participants included 231 full-time doctoral-level counseling and clinical psychology graduate students who were recruited via email. It was hypothesized that climate and support would predict stress, with each of these variables having an inverse relationship with stress. It was also predicted that support would moderate the relationship between climate and stress. A model was constructed representing these hypotheses and structural equation modeling was utilized to analyze the data. Initial analyses indicated that the hypothesized model did not adequately represent the data; however, these analyses did render a reduced model that offered a better fit to the data. Analysis of the hypothesized model did not confirm the moderation effect of support. Analysis of the reduced model suggested that climate and support, together, accounted for a significant amount of variance (25%) in stress. Further examination indicated that, when considered individually, only the relationship between climate and stress was significant. The limitations and implications of these results are discussed.