Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology


Counseling Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 53 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Michael V. Ellis

Committee Members

Myrna Friedlander, Jessica Martin


female, psychology, quality of life, self-care, stress, students, Women doctoral students, Women graduate students, Self-care, Health, Stress management for women, Psychology, Quality of life

Subject Categories

Counseling Psychology


Increasing numbers of women are pursuing doctoral degrees in psychology, and the stress of being a female doctoral student can create a risk for aversive consequences (e.g., ineffective clinical work, impaired competence). Psychologists lack an understanding of the extent to which women can protect themselves from undue stress in professional psychology programs by engaging in self-care. The lack of a comprehensive framework for this phenomenon calls for the need to apply and test the Health Promotion Model to the experience of women in professional psychology programs. The current investigation assessed the extent to which self-care activities would moderate the negative association between stress and quality of life in a sample of five hundred and fifty eight women from clinical, counseling, and school psychology programs throughout the U.S. Norm comparison tests indicated that women in the sample reported significantly more stress, significantly less self-care, a significantly higher self-reported physical quality of life, and a significantly lower self-reported psychological, environmental, and social quality of life in comparison to previous samples. Multivariate multiple regression analyses did not support the moderation hypothesis, in that the interaction between self-care and stress did not contribute significantly to quality of life. On the other hand, self-reported stress was significantly negatively associated with quality of life and there was a significant (though relatively small) main effect of stress on quality of life. These results suggest that stress may supersede the self-care efforts in maintaining or improving an individual's quality of life. Implications for theory, practice, and research are discussed in addition to strengths and limitations of the study.