Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 1265–1286 | Cite as

Balancing Work, School, and Personal Life among Graduate Students: a Positive Psychology Approach

  • Jessica M. NicklinEmail author
  • Emily J. Meachon
  • Laurel A. McNall


Graduate students are faced with an array of responsibilities in their personal and professional lives, yet little research has explored how working students maintain a sense of well-being while managing work, school, and personal-life. Drawing on conservation of resources theory and work-family enrichment theory, we explored personal, psychological resources that increase enrichment and decrease conflict, and in turn decrease perceptions of stress. In a study of 231 employed graduate students, we found that mindfulness was negatively related to stress via perceptions of conflict and enrichment, whereas self-compassion, resilience, and recovery experience were negatively related to stress, but only through conflict, not enrichment. These findings suggest that graduate students who are able to be “in the moment” may experience higher levels of well-being, in part due to greater enrichment and lower conflict.


Stress Conflict Enrichment Self-compassion Mindfulness Resilience Recovery Graduate students Balance Conservation of resources 



We would like to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

There are no conflicts of interested associated with this paper and we did not include any identifying information in the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica M. Nicklin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emily J. Meachon
    • 1
  • Laurel A. McNall
    • 2
  1. 1.University of HartfordWest HartfordUSA
  2. 2.The College at BrockportState University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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