Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hardman, Alisha M.

Committee Member

Elmore-Staton, Lori D.

Committee Member

Wheeler, Brandan

Committee Member

Wilmoth, Joe D.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Human Development and Family Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


School of Human Sciences


Adverse life events that occur in childhood may decrease an individual’s ability to effectively cope with challenges throughout their lives. The proper management of stress is essential to avoid problems that can crop up in all areas of life. College students who employ stress management tactics are better able to achieve well-being and academic success. This study examined the potential moderating association between “from within” coping supports or internal risk factors and academic success, mental health, and resilience qualities. Using a sample of college students at a large public university in the southeastern United States, this study demonstrates that viewing stress in a negative way may increase a student’s chances of failing to cope well with difficulty. Similarly, results of the analysis demonstrate that high perceived stress increases college students’ mental health issues and may diminish their capacity to cope with the challenges of the college environment. University officials may use the results from this study to inform policy and practice to address students’ ability to cope with stress and succeed academically.