Date of Conferral
Many graduate students (60%) do not complete their program of study. It is important for
universities to find ways to increase student completion rate. The general problem is that
online U.S. universities are faced with a high rate of PhD student drop out resulting in an
increased number of students not being able to complete their doctoral studies. The
purpose of this multiple linear regression study was to identify predictor variables of
dissertation student stress and overall dissertation satisfaction. Deci and Ryan's self
determination theory and Lazarus' theory of cognitive appraisal were used to guide this
research to identify how student perception of mentor communication styles can be used
to predict how students appraise stress and overall satisfaction with dissertation. A
convenience sample of 178 dissertation students identified through several online
dissertation student support and student-led Facebook groups completed the online
survey. According to study results, student perception of questioning and preciseness as
mentor communication styles predicted significantly lower scores of student appraisal of
stress experienced in dissertation. However, student perception of verbal aggressiveness
as a mentor communication style predicted significantly higher scores of student stress.
Mentor behaviors of academic assistance, mentoring abilities, and personal connection
predicted significantly higher levels of overall student dissertation satisfaction. Positive
social change initiatives formed by faculty and staff can be made to educate dissertation
chairpersons about the communication style and behaviors that are the most effective in
mentoring dissertation students.
King, Julienne Inez, "Dissertation Mentor Communication Style and Behavior as Predictors of Student Stress and Satisfaction" (2019). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 6844.