Date of Award

Fall 10-1-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Katie Smith, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Kelchen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lauren Twombly, Ph.D.


physician assistant training, underrepresented minorities in medicine, physician assistant program length, physician assistant stress, medical training stress



The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between physician Assistant (PA) program length and stress measures in PA students, particularly PA students classified as underrepresented minorities in medicine. The stress measures included in this study were quality of life, mental well-being, emotional well-being, and physical well-being. Previous studies in PA education have examined the effect of PA program length on national certifying exam pass rates and have shown no relationship between the two. This was the first study examining the relationship between PA program length and stress measures. There is a documented lack of underrepresented minorities in the PA profession, and the majority of PAs are White females. The results of this study showed that shorter PA programs were associated with higher physical well-being scores. In addition, older students, males, and students with higher levels of PA school debt had lower scores for quality of life, mental well-being, emotional well-being, and physical well-being. The variable underrepresented minority in medicine status was not statistically significant in any of the regressions. Implications, limitations, and potential future research were all discussed.