Document Type



Media is loading

Publication Date



Presentation: 5:21


Between 2006 and 2016, graduate school applications increased by 7% annually (Okahana, 2018). As enrollment increases, institutions of higher education must be ready to meet the unique mental health (MH) needs of graduate students who are often juggling work, children, and families along with their studies. There are a handful of studies that address MH in graduate education, but few explore unique stressors, such as work-life balance (WLB). The photo-elicitation (PE) method was used to explore how graduate students at one university perceived and defined their own WLB. IRB approval was obtained, and data were collected by MPH students enrolled in a 2018 qualitative research course. Each student-researcher recruited a participant (n=12). At the first of two meetings, participants were trained in the appropriate and ethical use of photography and ask to document experiences or events that would help them explain how they experience WLB and informed consent was obtained. At the second meeting, using participant-generated photographs, one-hour interviews were conducted to elicit a range of responses regarding WLB. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. The team employed a directed content analysis approach and created a codebook. Each transcript was coded in NVivo by two coders, and the team met to resolve any coding discrepancies. Three primary themes emerged; managing school, routine, and self-care. Subthemes that elucidate these themes include school work, socialization, balance, priorities, and food/nutrition. Implications for program directors, chairs, faculty, and administrators interested in understanding WLB to improve the graduate school experience will be discussed.