Doctoral student social support and satisfaction with life
Corneau, Amy K.
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The purpose of this study was to address the effects of social support on doctoral student happiness. One-hundred and thirty-five doctoral students from the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York completed a web-based questionnaire. The questionnaire assessed different areas of social support as well as satisfaction with personal life and with academic life. The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) was utilized to measure overall satisfaction with life. Qualitative data were also gathered about the types of social support received by important people in each subject's life. Results showed no significant relationships between any of the social support variables and satisfaction with academic life. However, satisfaction with personal life yielded significant results showing that married students were more satisfied than those who are single, part-time students were more satisfied than those who are full-time, and students living with another person or persons were more satisfied than those living alone. In terms of global satisfaction with life, those living with another person or persons were more satisfied than those living alone, those with more in-person contact with important people in their lives were more satisfied than those with less in-person contact, and those with more total contact (in-person, email, phone) with important people were more satisfied than those with less total contact. Analysis of the qualitative data revealed that participants who stated that they received unsupportive behaviors from important people were less globally satisfied with their lives than those who did not receive unsupportive behaviors. Implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research are also discussed.