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

Abstract

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.

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Nicklin, J.M., Meachon, E.J. & McNall, L.A. Balancing Work, School, and Personal Life among Graduate Students: a Positive Psychology Approach. Applied Research Quality Life 14, 1265–1286 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-018-9650-z

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Keywords

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