Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Dr. Patricia Boyer


Dr. Courtney Boddie

Dr. Emily Brown

Dr. George Vineyard



Stress is a growing issue on college campuses, and students in a professional pharmacy program may be at an even greater risk for associated problems. The purpose of this study was to gain information about resilience and its relationship with stress, high-risk behaviors, and grade point averages (GPAs) in students who just completed their first professional (P1) year of a pharmacy program. The research questions for this study were: 1) What is the relationship between levels of stress and level of resilience in these pharmacy students, 2) What is the relationship between high-risk behaviors and level of resilience?, and 3) What is the relationship between GPA and level of resilience?

This quantitative study utilized three measurement tools: the Visual Analogue Scale for stress, The Resilience Scale™ (Wagnild, 1993), and the Health Behaviors Questionnaire (Ingersoll & Orr, 1989). A self-report, multiple-survey design was utilized. The Pearson product moment and t-test significance tests were used to answer the research questions. Data was collected through an online questionnaire administered through the college’s email system, and the response rate was 62%.

This study successfully uncovered baseline information regarding P1 pharmacy stress and resilience. Students reported a mid-high level of general stress, and other evidence from this dissertation suggests that stress is in fact a major area of concern on campus. The P1 students have the heaviest usage of counseling center hours, and the topics most often shared as their presenting issues are academic concerns, anxiety/worry, and depressed mood.

However, this study also revealed promising results that students who are higher in resilience report lower stress. Those higher in resilience also were less likely to exhibit emotional risk behaviors that are considered harmful to overall health, such as feeling upset, lonely, nervous, tense, and sad. The campus community, including students, should be made aware of the benefits of formal resilience education, as well as sufficient psychological and academic support on campus. Armed with this knowledge, everyone can then work together to create a healthier environment which produces successful pharmacy professionals.