Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Ralph “Chip” Zimmerman, PhD, RRT, RRT-NPS, FAARC

Second Advisor

Laryssa D. Frederick, MS, RRT, RRT-NPS, RPFT

Third Advisor

Maxie Battey-Muse, MS, RRT, RRT-NPS, AE-C


Background: Stress is a common phenomenon among health sciences students, severely impacting students in different ways. Similar to other students, undergraduate Respiratory Therapy (RT) students are at a high risk of stress exposure that may harm their well-being. To enhance students’ well-being, it is essential to examine the prevalence and determinants of perceived stress among undergraduate RT students. Purpose: This research aims to assess the prevalence of perceived stress and identify variable sources of stress among undergraduate RT students in Saudi Arabia (SA). Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted during the academic year (2023-2024) to explore the prevalence and determinants of perceived stress. Data was collected through an anonymous self-administered survey consisting of 46 questions, including demographics, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-14), and sources of stress survey. Results: A total of 384 participants completed the survey. The study findings revealed a high prevalence of stress among students (60.9%), with a mean PSS score of 28.5±9.2 among participants. Females significantly reported higher levels of stress than males (p<.001). Furthermore, there was a significant difference in the mean PSS score among students at different academic levels (p<.001). Similarly, there was a significant difference in mean PSS score among different categories of GPAs (p<.011). No significant mean PSS difference was found among marital statuses and geographical regions. Academic stress stood out as a prominent source of stress among participants. The PSS correlated positively with all domains of stressors. It had a moderate positive correlation with the academic domain (r =.512, p <.001), a low positive correlation with the psychosocial domain (r =.312, p <.001), health domain (r =.150, p =.003), and with financial strain related to financial instability (r =.196, p <.001). All stress domains had a statistically significant regression coefficient to predict stress (p<.001). Conclusion: Stress is prevalent among undergraduate RT students in SA. Therefore, institutions should establish robust feedback mechanisms and prioritize mental health and counseling services resources, considering students' multifaceted challenges.


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