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It is well established that graduate students face large amounts of stress during their education. Despite this, little research has focused on factors that can help this high stress population maintain well-being in the face of numerous challenges. One potentially important but neglected probable wellness determinant is the advisor-student relationship. This study explored to what extent advisor and department characteristics related to advisor selection are associated with student well-being and examined whether a positive advisor-advisee relationship can reduce the negative effects of stress on student well-being. Four hundred and forty-six graduate students from Ph.D. programs across the United States completed an online survey asking advising-related questions as well as assessments of stress, physical health, psychological well-being, and demographics. Results indicated that higher faculty advisor satisfaction was associated with reports of higher positive affect, lower negative affect, and better sleep efficiency, but slightly worse health compared to a year prior to survey. Additionally, high quality advisor-student relationships and greater control over switching advisors were associated with less affective disruption under high stress indicating possible stress buffering effects. Together, these results indicate that advisor-advisee relationships in graduate training may be an important future area of intervention and focus for campus well-being.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in International Journal of Community Well-Being in 2020 following peer review. The final publication may differ and is available at Springer via

A free-to-read copy of the final published article is available here.



Available for download on Tuesday, November 09, 2021