Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Psychology

Committee Chair/Advisor

Cynthia L.S. Pury

Committee Member

Robin Kowalski

Committee Member

Patrick Rosopa


There is evidence of a crisis of low affective well-being troubling graduate students nationwide. Recent studies have shown that graduate students exhibit indicators of low affective well-being, such as levels of anxiety and depression six times greater than the general population (Galleo et al., 2021; Glover, 2019), high levels of being overwhelmed (Kaler & Stebleton, 2019), and overall increased psychological distress (Hacker, 2021). The prevalence and severity of these issues indicate that their causes may exceed personal factors (Bekkouche et al., 2022). Previous research has identified the quality of culture and culture-related factors within graduate schools and programs to be strong indicators of the quality of the mental health and well-being of graduate students (Evans et al., 2018). In response to the crisis, this research leverages empirically supported Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology frameworks and methodologies to improve upon the experience of graduate students. A survey was employed (n = 420) to determine the experience of graduate students in relation to the culture within their programs by measuring psychological climate perceptions and mistreatment incidence, in addition to measuring the quality of their affective well-being as an outcome. It was found that work-related mistreatment significantly negatively predicted affective well-being (b = -0.135, p < .001) and psychological climate perceptions significantly positively predicted affective well-being (b = 0.408, p < .001). Recommendations are provided regarding how institutions can leverage I-O methodologies in the development of interventions to improve the affective well-being of graduate students.



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