Graduate students in the helping professions experience a large amount of stress due to their dual roles as clinicians and students, which may impact their ability to perform effectively. Due to these demands, many developing clinicians feel ill prepared to cope with these responsibilities, especially when self-care strategies are not included in their curriculum. Given research showing its association with more positive feeling states, increased self-compassion, decreased stress, and better quality of life, mindfulness training may be the missing link in graduate programs to aid students in developing more effective self-care and coping strategies to meet the demands of their clinical and academic workloads. In order to better understand the association between mindfulness engagement, stress, and self-compassion, a quantitative examination was conducted with fifteen master’s level graduate students in a clinical psychology master’s program. No significant difference was found when comparing stress and self-compassion scores before mindfulness training and after engagement in mindfulness training, which may have been due to limitations regarding data analysis, research design, and the selected sample. Notwithstanding, mean score results counter assumptions of high graduate student stress levels, and highlight the need for Self-Compassion Scale norms for this population. Recommendations for future directions include utilizing a control group, completing measures at various points within graduate programs, and exploring specific mindfulness practices’ impact on stress and self-compassion scores.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Mindfulness (Psychology); Psychology students -- Mental health

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Hall, Susan;