The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate aspects of mental health and the approaches students take when coping with stress. Specifically, this study sought to understand the interrelationship between anxiety levels, feelings of academic apathy, and the use of avoidance coping strategies. Students from seven public, two-year colleges within a Midwest college and university system served as this study’s sample. Data collection took the form of a non-experimental self-report structure and included the use of three empirically established and valid measures: The Self-rating Anxiety Scale (SAS), Bresso’s Academic Burnout Questionnaire, and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS). In order to answer the questions posed by this study, data analysis involved correlational analyses, linear regression analyses, and a moderation analysis. Results indicated no significant associations between the key variables (r = -0.095 to -0.183, p > 0.05) or significant predictive relationships (t = -1.241 and -1.146, p > 0.05). In addition, it was found that academic apathy was not a significant moderator in the relationship between anxiety and the use of avoidance coping, t(147) = -1.149, p = 0.253. However, significant findings in exploratory analyses, in combination with the limited anxiety reported by the participants and the strong empirical and theoretical background supporting the hypotheses, suggest further research is warranted. In the face of rising and alarming rates of anxiety and burnout among college students today and the lack of research on the community college student population, this study plays a role in furthering our understanding of the mental health and well-being of community college students.

Date Dissertation Completed


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education


Education Studies

Dissertation Advisor

Erika Pinter

Dissertation Committee Members

Erika Pinter, Rhea Walker, Amanda Brouweracademic burnout, anxiety, apathy, community college student, coping strategies


Winona, Minnesota

Katey Leverson signed Title Page.pdf (11 kB)

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