The moderating role of fatigue on the relationship between optimism and distress among college students

College students experience numerous challenges including personal, social, and financial stressors while balancing academic workload. These stressors could contribute to feelings of fatigue and distress, which could have serious implication for interfering with academic demands, interpersonal relationships, degree completions, and overall well-being. One of the personality factors that serves as a protective factor against psychological distress and contributes to successful adjustment to college is optimism. However, it is unknown if the relationship between optimism and distress will persist in the presence of fatigue. It was predicted that optimism would be negatively associated with distress, and that fatigue would be positively associated with distress. These hypotheses were supported. Next, it was predicted that the relationship between optimism and distress would be moderated by fatigue. This hypothesis was partially supported. In the overall and the female sample, fatigue moderated the relationship between optimism and distress. However, this was not true for the male sample. The data suggests that the effect of optimism on distress was the strongest when individuals were highly fatigued and weakest when they were endorsing low levels of fatigue. Keywords: optimism, distress, fatigue, gender, college students