Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Suzanne Lease

Committee Member

Douglas Strohmer

Committee Member

Susan McChesney-Atkins

Committee Member

Jade Xu


The current study explores the association between perceived stress and health risk factors (heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, high blood glucose/diabetes, tobacco use, problematic alcohol use, physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and depressive symptoms) among a sample of working adults. The moderating effect of work meaning on the relationship between perceived stress and health risk factors was examined. It was hypothesized that greater levels of perceived stress would be significantly associated with a higher number of total health risks and that the relationship between perceived stress and total health risks would be buffered by work meaning. Although the results of the study indicated that the perceived stress of working adults was related to health risk factors, work meaning was not found to moderate this stress-outcome relationship when using a summary score of all health risk factors. In post-hoc analysis, the health risk factors were divided into physical health outcomes, depressive symptoms, and behavioral risk factors and the moderating hypothesis was tested again. Results indicated that perceived stress was related to behavioral risk factors, but not physical health outcomes. Additionally, work meaning was found to moderate the relationship between perceived stress and the psychological health outcome of depressive symptoms. Work meaning buffered the relationship between perceived stress and depressive symptoms. Results have implication for clinicians desiring to help individuals explore their meaning making process and view their work as more meaningful. Additionally, the findings of this research can be extended to those aimed at improving the physical and psychological health of clients or employees at the individuals, group, and organizational level.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.