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Burnout in Graduate Students

Duncan, Carly (2022) Burnout in Graduate Students. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Amongst the approximately 3.1 million graduate students currently enrolled in advanced degree programs in the United States, nearly 66% reported above-average stress since the beginning of the pandemic, most notably due to poor relationships with advisors and difficulty finding a work-life balance. This has led to considerable feelings of burnout. Burnout is not a new phenomenon in the United States, as it was first defined by psychoanalyst H.J. Fruedenberger in 1974. While burnout is often used to describe the working population throughout the United States, it has become increasingly noticed that graduate students are particularly vulnerable to feelings of burnout, which is evident by three symptoms particular to students: cynicism, exhaustion, and lack of professional efficacy.
This essay explored published literature on burnout in graduate students, analyzed the literature for recurring themes, and proposed a future study to address the gaps in knowledge in current literature. Current literature suggests that certain comorbid mental health conditions are present among graduate students and a few documented methods that mitigate the effects of burnout in this demographic. However, a few problems exist evident in current literature regarding burnout in graduate students. First of all, current literature lacks qualitative data to help understand why graduate students experience burnout. Furthermore, the reviewed articles do not measure burnout consistently, making it difficult to generalize findings.
As a result, is it recommended that focus groups be conducted to account for the gap in existing literature and to guide the development of future interventions targeted at this population. Future exploration of this topic will help ease the burden of graduate school and guide creation of conducive learning environments for many generations of future graduate students to come. Easing the burden of graduate school for students will also help to eliminate other public health problems in this population, including substance abuse, suicide, anxiety, and depression.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Duncan, Carlycarly.a.duncan@gmail.comcad210
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.edumaterryUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberGlynn, Nancyepidnwg@pitt.eduepidnwgUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberBuchanich, Jeaninejeanine@pitt.edujeanineUNSPECIFIED
Date: 16 May 2022
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 28 April 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 37
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: burnout graduate student
Date Deposited: 16 May 2022 19:54
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 19:54


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