Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Anne M. Haskins


Adaptation, Psychological; Occupational Therapy -- education; Stress, Psychological; Students


Introduction: The purpose of this research study was to gather data on stressors experienced by occupational therapy students during their program and how they cope with their identified stressors. The rationale for this study was the lack of and inconsistent research regarding occupational therapy students, how they experience perceived psychological stress during their program, and how they cope with their identified stressors.

Methodology: The researchers utilized a quantitative exploratory survey design to discover perceived psychological stress and coping methods in Master’s of Occupational Therapy (MOT) students. Prior to recruitment, Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval was received. Respondents were recruited through a convenience sampling method from (MOT) programs in the Northeast, South, West and Midwest regions of the United States. Respondents completed online versions of a demographic survey, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and the Revised Ways of Coping Checklist (WCCL). The total sample size was 37 MOT students. Descriptive and inferential analysis was completed to describe the study sample and answer the research questions.

Results: The results of the PSS showed MOT students to have a moderate levels of stress. Perceived psychological stress was significantly correlated with financial assistance. The mean scores on the WCCL showed our sample of MOT students used focusing on the positive, seeking social support, and problem solving coping methods. Self-blame and tension-reduction coping methods were significantly correlated with those participants living with a significant other. Males were significantly less likely than females to use problem focused and focusing on the positive coping methods.

Conclusions: The findings from this study suggest MOT students experience moderate levels of stress during their academic programs. Effective and ineffective coping methods were found to be utilized as a means to cope with perceived psychological stress.

Significance: The results from this study can assist future educators when developing academic programs. Additionally, the results from this study contribute to previously existing evidence regarding MOT students perceived psychological stress and coping methods.