Stress and Perfectionism in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Social Work Students

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To further inform faculty and clinical educators interested in facilitating the overall well-being of their students, areas causing stress for undergraduate (UGs) and graduate (Gs) students in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) and in social work (SWK) were explored. The perceived stress levels as well as levels and types of perfectionism demonstrated by students, as well as the methods used to manage stress, were also explored.


A survey of 193 CSD students (105 UGs and 88 Gs) and 137 SWK students (104 UGs and 33 Gs) from the same institution was conducted. The survey asked respondents to list their top 3 stressors, as well as the stress management practices in which they engaged, and to complete the Perceived Stress Scale and the Almost Perfect Scale–Revised.


CSD UGs were the only group who indicated that the graduate school admission process was a major stressor; other stressors listed by UGs in CSD and SWK were similar. CSD Gs were the only group who listed clinic as stressful, and SWK Gs listed finances as a more prominent stressor than did CSD Gs. Stress management practices were primarily similar. No differences existed between UGs and Gs on measures of perceived stress and perfectionism. More CSD respondents demonstrated healthy aspects of perfectionism than did SWK respondents. CSD respondents' stress levels were lower overall than those of SWK respondents.


Similarities and differences existed between CSD and SWK respondents regarding stressors, stress management practices, perceived stress levels, and perfectionism. This information can provide faculty and clinical educator with insight regarding our students' overall well-being.


This article was originally published as Beck, A.R., Zosky, D.L., & Verticchio, H. (2021). Stress and perfectionism in communication sciences and disorders and social work students. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 6 (4), 783-794. doi: 10.1044/2021_PERSP-20-00293