Purdue University Graduate School
Dolson Dissertation for Deposit 5.7.19.pdf (701.44 kB)

Factors Influencing Interrole Conflict Among Graduate Student-Parents

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posted on 2021-10-12, 15:21 authored by Jordan M DolsonJordan M Dolson

Graduate student-parents face numerous challenges, such as balancing their parent, student, and worker roles, and often having to “prove” themselves as serious students and parents. Although these challenges are potentially life-changing and can lead to high graduate student attrition rates, research on the social, academic, and work-related experiences of graduate student-parents is scarce. Through this dissertation, I aimed to shed light on an often overlooked population.

This dissertation is presented in the form of two distinct articles conceptually related in nature. The first article integrates literature from various fields relevant to graduate student-parents. Through a critique of the existing literature, I noted three significant issues: (a) a lack of focus on the experiences of graduate student fathers, (b) a lack of focus on intersectionality, and (c) a virtual nonexistence of how psychologists can bridge the gap between research findings and policy change. The article ends with suggestions for practitioners in university counseling center settings.

The purpose of the second article is to examine whether advisor support buffers the relations between parent-based discrimination and emotional, work-, and family-related outcomes. I hypothesized that the indirect effect between perceived discrimination and SFC/WFC via burnout will be significant and positive at low levels of academic advisor support. I also hypothesized that the simple indirect effect of perceived discrimination on SFC/WFC will be moderated by gender such that the indirect pathway will be stronger and more positive for women than for men. Data were collected on a sample of 261 graduate student-parents using an online survey. Results indicated that burnout mediated the relationship between perceived discrimination and school- and work-family conflict. Neither advisor support or gender moderated the mediated relationship between perceived discrimination and school-and work-family conflict. Practical and clinical implications are discussed, in addition to suggestions for future research.


Purdue Research Foundation (PRF) Research Grant


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Educational Studies

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Eric Deemer

Additional Committee Member 2

Blake Allan

Additional Committee Member 3

James Greenan

Additional Committee Member 4

Brittany Gundel