Date of Award

Fall 2013

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Karen Van Gundy


Although a growing body of research documents the links between goal-striving stress and emotional disorder, less research examines the psychosocial antecedents of goal-striving stress. Drawing on longitudinal survey data from a panel study of rural youth, this thesis examines the effects of socioeconomic status and mastery on educational goal-striving stress, occupational goal-striving stress, and combined goal-striving stress. Results indicate that each measure of goal-striving stress is not equally well predicted by socioeconomic status and mastery. Notably, the effects of socioeconomic status on occupational goal-striving stress and combined goal-striving stress are conditioned by mastery, while neither socioeconomic status nor mastery is associated with educational goal-striving stress. Findings show that the interaction between socioeconomic status and mastery accounts for socioeconomic status differences in both occupational and combined goal-striving stress, and that mastery is associated with a decrease in occupational and combined goal-striving stress particularly at lower socioeconomic strata.