Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Ruth Chu-Lien Chao, Ph.D.


Graduate student mental health, Psychological flexibility, Academic satisfaction, Life satisfaction


Despite the prevalence of mental health concerns among graduate students (Evans, Bira, Gastelum, Weiss, & Vanderford, 2018), research on graduate student mental health lags behind that of undergraduates (Hyun, Quinn, Madon, & Lustig, 2006). This study utilized Lent's (2004) social-cognitive model of well-being to examine factors thought to contribute to graduate student well-being in a sample (N = 301) of graduate students in the United States. In particular, the role of the construct of psychological flexibility was examined for its influence on other factors in the model. Results indicated that the model demonstrated a good fit to the data while the hypothesized relationships in the model were partially supported. Positive affect predicted academic self-efficacy, academic satisfaction, and life satisfaction. Psychological flexibility predicted the advisory working relationship, academic self-efficacy, academic stress, and life satisfaction, but not academic satisfaction. The advisory relationship predicted academic stress and academic satisfaction, while academic self-efficacy predicted academic outcome expectations and goal progress. Academic outcome expectations also predicted academic satisfaction. Academic stress predicted academic satisfaction, and academic satisfaction predicted life satisfaction. The structural model accounted for 51% of the variance in academic stress, 59% of the variance in academic satisfaction, and 53% of the variance in life satisfaction. Comparison with an alternative model indicated that the hypothesized model including psychological flexibility provided a better fit to the data and explained more variance than a model without psychological flexibility. Moderation analyses suggested that psychological flexibility did not moderate the influence of academic stress on either academic satisfaction or life satisfaction. This study provides initial support for the utility of the well-being model in understanding factors contributing to graduate student mental health, while highlighting the role that psychological flexibility, positive affect, the advisory working relationship, and outcome expectations may have in promoting satisfaction outcomes for graduate students. Implications for promotion of graduate student well-being are discussed, as well as limitations of the current study and directions for future research.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Aaron Hudyma

File size

143 p.

File format





Counseling psychology