Senior Project Advisor

Steve Bennett

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2021


RA, Resident Advisor, Stress, RA Stress Survey


Background: The resident advisor (RA) position at universities has many difficult job responsibilities that impact stress. This stress can lead to burnout among RAs, which will negatively impact the on-campus communities. Purpose: The purpose of our study is to design a standardized survey to gather quantitative and qualitative data on which aspects of the RA position cause the most stress, so that University Reslife can evaluate where and how to support RAs better. Methods: Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) was adapted in the first part of the survey to measure participant’s individual perception of stress. The RA position was broken up into thirteen distinct responsibilities, with participants being asked a Likert scale question about how impact each of these responsibilities were in raising their stress. For each responsibility participants indicate having a higher impact on stress, they are then asked follow up questions exploring influencing factors. Results: Fourteen RAs from the 2020-2021 academic year participated in a pilot study of the designed instrument. The average PSS score among participants was 19.4, which is moderate stress. The responsibilities of “Low Level Conduct”, “High Level Conduct” “Care Situations”, “Program Planning”, “Intentional Conversations”, “Desk shift”, and “COVID Response” were all chosen as having a higher impact on raising stress levels of RAs. Conclusion: The pilot study was successful in generating results, and indicated that each of these seven job responsibilities should be explored further as areas to focus support efforts for RAs at this university. The survey should continue to be implemented for the foreseeable future in order to gather more data and establish baselines of stress impact for each responsibility, and to create more definitive trends.


Health and Human Development

Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Housing management--Washington (State)--Bellingham; Supervisors--Washington (State)--Bellingham--Job stress; Job stress--Washington (State)--Bellingham--Measurement; Dormitories--Washington (State)--Bellingham

Subjects - Names (LCNAF)

Western Washington University

Geographic Coverage

Bellingham (Wash.)






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