43% of Graduate Students Experience Stress Beyond Ability to Handle


DALLAS – (April 4-8, 2011, National Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week) – A recent nationwide survey of graduate students at 26 major universities across America revealed key concerns that negatively affect the pursuit of advanced degrees. Grad Resources is taking this week to create awareness of stressors and resources for graduate students.

In an effort to identify resources that aid graduate students in dealing with pressures and completing their degree, Grad Resources commissioned a survey of students currently pursuing a Master’s or Ph.D. degree. 

According to the majority of survey respondents, primary areas of concern for graduate students include: maintaining balance between school and life, career success and financial pressures, followed closely by stress and burnout.

Of potential interest to campus health professionals, 43% of all graduate students reported experiencing more stress than they could handle. The percentage was significantly higher in particular areas of academic specialization – Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences. Nearly half of graduate students in these specialties reported more stress than they could handle. 45% of Ph.D. students also reported more stress than they could handle, versus 41% of Master’s level students. 

When faced with stress and other problems, relationships provided the greatest support with 90% of married graduate students finding help from their spouse, followed by 78% of students who sought support from peers and parents. More than two thirds of graduate students frequently turn inward when in need of insight or support. One third of graduate students turn to God or a higher power.

National Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week is April 4-8. There will be a variety of events and activities on various campuses across the country to bring attention to the influence of graduate students and the issues they face. It was begun by The National Association of Graduate and Professional Students. “What better time to talk about grad stresses than during Grad Week,” says Nick Repak, President of Grad Resources.

Grad Resources is a faith-based service organization based in Dallas, Texas that serves the overall needs of graduate students across the United States and around the world. Grad Resources offers students a wide variety of resources and support to manage the unique pressures of academia. For additional resources or for information about support communities on your campus for graduate students, contact your graduate council, your graduate Dean’s office or see: www.GradResources.org, www.NAGPS.org, www.HopeLine.com, and the National Grad Student Crisis-Line 800-GRAD-HLP (800-472-3457).


Nick Repak, President

Top Concerns of Graduate Students 

Percent of Graduate Students Reporting Issue as a “Major Concern” 

Issue %
Reaching an acceptable balance between school and life outside of school 59
Not being successful in your career 56
The financial pressures of being in graduate school 54
Stress or burnout 53
Your health 47
Failing to meet the expectations others have of you 43
Choosing the wrong career path 38
Not completing your degree 37
Your relationships with your professors 32
Your relationship with your peers 27
Feeling like an outsider, or that you do not belong 24
Growing your relationship with God or a higher power 24

Percent of Graduate Students Reporting Resources for Dealing with Stress “Somewhat Helpful” or “Very Helpful”

Resource %
Your spouse 90
Your peers 78
Your parents or other family members 78
Listening to or playing music 78
Entertainment media like TV or movies 73
Visiting a special place that renews you 69
Social events 68
Participating in sports 61
Praying 57
Eating 50
Your professors 43
Reading holy or sacred literature 40
Counselors 33
Drinking alcohol 33
Chaplains or ministers 28
Recreational drugs 14

Source: Grad Resources, ©2010

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  1. Pingback: Grad Students Are a Stressed-Out Bunch | Not News | You Should Go To School

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