Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Shannon Suldo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jenni Menon Meriano, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kathy Bradley-Klug, Ph.D.


Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, positive psychology, school satisfaction, socioeconomic status, stress


High school students in accelerated curriculum, which include Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, face greater amounts of academic stress than those in the general education curriculum (Suldo & Shaunessey, 2013). It is crucial to understand how these students cope with their academic demands and the impact that their use of various coping factors has on their overall subjective well-being. This study utilized a longitudinal non-experimental design to a) examine the stability of coping factors, b) examine the relationship between individual coping factors and subjective well-being, c) investigate the impact of socioeconomic status on the relationship of coping and subjective well-being, d) and explore how academic achievement and school satisfaction influence the way in which coping predicts subjective well-being. This study analyzed archival data collected within a longitudinal study with two waves of data collected nine months apart—August 2017 and April 2018— from a larger study funded by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES; R305A150543). The same participants were measured at both time points. The sample consisted of 472 students who provided self report data at Time 1 and Time 2. The participants were drawn from 15 high schools within three school districts. Participants completed the Coping with Academic Demands Scale (CADS), Students Life Satisfaction Scale (SLSS), and School Satisfaction Scale of the Multidimensional Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale (MSLSS). Participants’ school records indicated their grade point averages (GPAs). Socioeconomic status was indicated by student self-report of parental education levels. Regarding trends in changes in coping factors over time, the mean scores on factors of skip school, substance use, reduce effort, sleep, take short cuts, and social venting increased from the beginning of freshman year to the end of freshman year. The mean levels of factors of time and task management, seek academic support, and spirituality decreased over time. In terms of relationship between each coping factor and subsequent subjective well-being (SWB), more frequent use of coping through spirituality and turning to family positively predicted later SWB whereas social venting negatively predicted later SWB. None of these three coping factors were found to be moderated by socioeconomic status. Additionally, school satisfaction and GPA were not found to be mediators for the relationship between those three specific factors and subsequent SWB. Implications of potential findings for key stakeholders, including educators, administrators, and school psychologists are discussed, such as advocating for the implementation of universal programming and providing specific strategies to assist in increasing 9th grade students’ usage of effective coping strategies. Finally, key limitations of the study are presented.

Included in

Psychology Commons