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Mental Health and Perceived Stress in Kinesiology Graduate Students

Elizabeth M. Mullin, Anna Bottino, Danielle D. Wadsworth, Steven J. Petruzzello, and Tiffanye M. Vargas

While the negative psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been noted in the general population and among undergraduate students, little is known about the impact on graduate students. We surveyed kinesiology graduate students (N = 272) enrolled in American Kinesiology Association member institutions regarding their well-being. Overall, graduate students reported poor mental health and high perceived stress. Cisgender women reported worse outcomes than their counterparts. No significant differences were found among sexual orientation or racial and ethnic identity. In open-ended responses, graduate students identified both increased and decreased well-being and delineated methods that helped or would have helped their well-being during the pandemic. Faculty and administrators must put intentional effort into recognizing mental health disparities, provide open and clear communication, and increase access and visibility of resources to support the mental health and well-being of graduate students.