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Under pressure: Building student resilience in I/O Psychology Master's Programs

[Speaker] Van Tonder, Christian L:1
[Co-author] Henn, Carolina:2
1:Curtin University (Australia), 2:University of Johannesburg (South Africa(Republic of South Africa))

This qualitative study's aim was to shed light on the learning experiences of highly selected Masters students during intense, pressurised psychology training in the Industrial / Organisational Psychology Masters Programme. Observations obtained from an initial cohort concerning the relationship between student learning and coping were extended with the aid of semi-structured interviews and questionnaires to two subsequent student cohorts. Students report comprehensive change in life domains upon commencement of the programme (e.g. disrupted social structures) and exceptional pressure and fatigue for the greatest part of the program, which regularly induce significant negative affect. Yet, despite this student learning orientation and commitment to an I/O Psychology career appear unwavering. Narrative analysis indicates that an overarching sense of purpose, professional identity,the learning context (trainer encouragement, reinforcement of superordinate values),strong social support, and mastery are among several factors that contribute to an enhanced sense of self-efficacy, resilience and coping.
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