Predicting stress and mental wellbeing among doctoral researchers

Journal article


Byrom, Nicola C., Dinu, Larisa, Kirkman, Ann and Hughes, G. 2020. Predicting stress and mental wellbeing among doctoral researchers. Journal of Mental Health. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638237.2020.1818196
AuthorsByrom, Nicola C., Dinu, Larisa, Kirkman, Ann and Hughes, G.
Abstract

Although mental health in higher education is increasingly recognised as a public health issue, postgraduate research students are often overlooked. Recent studies indicate a high prevalence of mental distress in this population. This study assesses the experience of doctoral researchers and identifies factors influencing mental wellbeing and perceived stress. A cross-sectional study examined how key demographic, individual and contextual factors related to stress and mental wellbeing in a sample of 431 doctoral researchers in the United Kingdom. Respondents gave positive reports about their supervisory relationship and identified feeling confidently prepared for their work. Family support, good general health, sleep and low levels of self-depreciation predicted stronger mental wellbeing and lower levels of stress. Students who were confident about their future career and felt well prepared for their studies were less stressed and those who were achievement orientated had better mental wellbeing. Focused attention on exploring career options and building confidence may help reduce stress among doctoral researchers. Taking steps to tackle the imposter phenomenon may help further. These could include addressing fear of failure, improving confidence in research ability and clarifying the role of doctoral researchers within the wider academic community.

KeywordsPsychiatry and Mental health; General Medicine; doctoral researchers
Year2020
JournalJournal of Mental Health
PublisherInforma UK Limited
ISSN0963-8237
1360-0567
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/09638237.2020.1818196
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/625924
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
hdl:10545/625924
Publication dates24 Sep 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Aug 2021, 10:18
Accepted04 Aug 2020
Rights

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

ContributorsKings College London and University of Derby
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