Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Choi, Namok

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Shuck, Brad

Committee Member

Alaganda, Meera

Committee Member

Kyle, Diane


Job satisfaction and occupational stress have consistently been examined in professionals for decades due to its link to turnover and reduced productivity. Similar concepts have been investigated in undergraduate students, but there is paucity of research of attrition in graduate students. This gap persists despite estimates that 50% of graduate students fail to graduate (Cassuto, 2013). Such attrition is not due to deficiency in academic skills, as Carroll, Ng, and Birch (2009) reported that personal reasons were cited more than academic concerns for attrition. The purpose of this dissertation was to address this job satisfaction and occupational stress gap with the investigation of graduate students who maintain part-time employment of at least ten hours a week. It was speculated that additional occupational demands may enhance the understanding of the graduate student process. Job satisfaction was measured utilizing the Job Descriptive Index and an overall satisfaction scale. Occupational stress was measured with the Perceived Stress Scale, and gender role was assessed with the Bem Sex Role inventory. Additionally, an open ended question was utilized to determine the three greatest stressors in the graduate student part-time workers’ lives. Results revealed that sex, gender, and the sex by gender interaction failed to predict significant job satisfaction or occupational stress. However, additional analysis revealed that androgynous individuals had greater job satisfaction than other gender roles, whereas masculine individuals had greater compensation satisfaction than feminine individuals. Qualitative results revealed that academics, balancing realms, and family were the greatest stressors reported by the graduate students. Factor analysis supported the utilization of these established scales in graduate students. Implications and suggestions for future research were suggested as mechanisms to increase graduate students’ satisfaction, such as accurate portrayal of the process and time management workshops. Such initiatives will hopefully mitigate the significant attrition seen in graduate school.