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Mickley Steinmetz, Katherine R.; Gaudier-Diaz, Monica M.; Huber, Emily C.; Edwards, Brandon H.; & Muscatell, Keely A. (Online ahead of print). Investigating Social Connection as a Protective Factor against Exam Stress in College Students. Journal of American College Health.


Objective: To examine social connection as a protective factor against exam stress.
Participants: 55 undergraduate students at two universities.
Methods: Students were evaluated on an exam day for their hardest class and at baseline, a day in a week where they had no exams. Social connection, salivary cortisol, perceived stress, and cognitive control (measured with the Stroop test) were assessed. Exam scores were later reported.
Results: Higher social connection was associated with lower perceived stress on exam day. At a small liberal arts school, higher levels of social connection were associated with higher Stroop scores. This correlation with cognitive control was not significant at a large public university.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that social connection may be a protective factor in mitigating perceived stress and cognitive control capabilities may help facilitate reduced exam stress in some school environments.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

Online ahead of print

Journal Title

Journal of American College Health


Mickley Steinmetz, Katherine R.
Gaudier-Diaz, Monica M.
Huber, Emily C.
Edwards, Brandon H.
Muscatell, Keely A.

Article Type



United States of America




Muscatell - 0000-0002-7893-5565