Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

James W Bartee

Committee Co-Chair

John Blake

Committee Member

Jeffrey Daniels

Committee Member

Lisa Hamilton

Committee Member

George Mamboleo


Attachment theory suggests that previous experiences direct one's interpretations of potentially stressful events and one's reaction to these events. As university students interact with a novel environment and face new demands, they may experience elevated levels of stress. Dependent on what resources they feel are available to them, they might feel confident in addressing these challenges, or they may believe they cannot meet the demands of the college environment. This perception of ability or inability can affect personal and academic success. Using attachment theory as a foundation, this study investigated the relationships among students' attachment dynamics, coping styles, and perceived stress in a sample 174 West Virginia University students. Based on attachment theory and previous research, it was expected that both students' attachment dynamics and coping styles would explain variance in perceived stress. As predicted, using hierarchical multiple regression analyses, both attachment dynamics and coping styles were observed to explain a significant amount of variance (26.8--45.5% variance explained) in the perception of stress, after accounting for demographic variables. Results of this study are explored with regard to how they can inform clinical work and future research with the university student population.