The Effects of Exploitative and Supportive Leader Behaviors on Graduate Student Well-Being




West, Kaytlin Anne

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Graduate student health and well-being has been a topic of great concern of late, with recent increases in reports of various health and behavior problems. Graduate students also report significant levels of stress, burnout, physical health issues, and potentially problematic behaviors such as alcohol use. Many of the problems identified resemble those found in the workplace literature on negative forms of leadership. This study explored the possibility something analogous is occurring (e.g., advisors engaging in similar negative behaviors) by surveying students who identified as being enrolled in research-focused (i.e., apprentice-ship style) graduate programs; thus, the predictors for this study included negative and positive leader scales that were adapted from industry literature. Participants provided responses to survey measures regarding advisor behavior, burnout, perceived stress, overall health, and alcohol consumption, amongst others (N = 418 retained for analysis). Findings suggest that role of leadership in burnout varied by dimension of burnout. For personal achievement there was no relation, for depersonalization negative behaviors and their interaction with positive behaviors were significant, and for emotional exhaustion only positive behaviors were predictive. For stress, neither set of leadership behaviors was significant alone but the interaction was again significant and resembled that found for depersonalization. There were not significant findings for general health or alcohol consumption. These findings suggest further research on leadership principles applied to graduate students.


This item is available only to currently enrolled UTSA students, faculty or staff. To download, navigate to Log In in the top right-hand corner of this screen, then select Log in with my UTSA ID.


Exploitative Leadership, Graduate Students, Supportive Leadership, Well-Being