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Rates of anxiety in college students are at an all-time high (Anxiety and Depression Association of America [ADAA], 2019). Research indicates that excessive stressors specific to graduate school have resulted in high levels of anxiety and depression in graduate students (Flaherty, 2018). Hojat et al. (2003) report students with chronic anxiety describe an elevated incidence of sickness, musculoskeletal pain, decreased sleep, headaches, and chronic illnesses associated with exposure to stressful life events. Students with high levels of anxiety demonstrate impediments with academic performance including lower grade point average (GPA), difficulty with short term memory, difficulty concentrating, and test anxiety (Chin et al., 2017; Everly et al., 1994; Owens et al., 2012; Thomas et al., 2017). The purpose of this quantitative study was to test if and how personality traits, demographic characteristics, and coping strategies relate to state and trait anxiety in Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students. To answer this question, a survey was sent to all eight DPT programs in the state of Georgia containing the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), the Brief COPE Scale, the Almost Perfect Scale-Revised, and a demographic questionnaire. This study enrolled 204 participants through convenience sampling. A hierarchical linear regression analysis found an association between use of maladaptive coping strategies, gender, and whether the student was in the first through third year of their DPT curriculum and state anxiety. Trait anxiety was associated with use of maladaptive copings strategies, maladaptive perfectionism personality traits, gender, and year within the DPT program. The results of this study have implications for decision-makers for DPT programs and warrant the need for stress management interventions.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
20 Jul 2022
882 kB



  • Advisor
    • Katherine Rose Adams, Daniel Collier, Simon Cordery/ Anne Thompson

  • Department
    • Education

  • Date submitted

    20 July 2022

  • Qualification level
    • Doctoral

  • Keywords