Date of Conferral







Linda J. Whinghter


Completion times for doctoral psychology students are twice as long as those of other disciplines, and the attrition rate is over half of the matriculated students. Research indicates that (a) burnout plays an integral part in delayed completion and attrition for doctoral students and (b) personality and coping influence the development of burnout. In an effort to support prevention and intervention strategies, this study explored the gap in research regarding moderating effects of coping styles on the relationship between personality traits and burnout levels in online doctoral psychology students, as this population is growing at a significant rate and possesses additional risks for burnout due to physical isolation from faculty, academic peers, and support services. The NEO Five-Factor Inventory assessed the personality traits of Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness; the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations measured Task-, Emotion-, and Avoidant-Oriented coping styles; and the Maslach Burnout Inventory--Student Survey assessed the burnout dimensions of Exhaustion, Cynicism, and Efficacy. Results of multiple regression analysis indicated positive relationships between Neuroticism, Emotion-Oriented Coping, and Burnout, and negative relationships between Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness, Task-Oriented Coping, and Burnout. Avoidant-Oriented Coping was identified as a moderating variable on the predictive relationship between Conscientiousness and Professional Efficacy. This study contributes to social change by improving the understanding of burnout factors for online doctoral psychology students, which could enhance intervention strategies and improve timely program completion.

Included in

Psychology Commons