Mental health and psychological wellbeing in the early stages of doctoral study: What do we currently know?

Jackman, Patricia, Jacobs, Lisa, Hawkins, Rebecca and Sisson, Kelly (2021) Mental health and psychological wellbeing in the early stages of doctoral study: What do we currently know? In: V2nd International Conference on the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Postgraduate Researchers.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Doctoral students appear to be at high risk of experiencing poor mental health and psychological wellbeing. The early stage of doctoral study has been identified as a potential opportunity to implement early intervention and prevention strategies to tackle these issues. Therefore, it is important and timely to understand what is known about mental health and psychological wellbeing in the early stages of the doctoral journey. The aim of this study was to systematically review, synthesise, and appraise research that has examined mental health and psychological wellbeing in early-stage doctoral students. After conducting electronic searches on 10 databases and manual searches, data from 24 studies were included in the review and analysed through thematic synthesis. The review identified stress as a prominent concern for early-stage doctoral students. Although there was limited evidence regarding the effects of the transition to doctoral study on mental health and psychological wellbeing, the existing evidence appeared to suggest that the demands of early-stage doctoral study can be detrimental. The synthesis generated novel understanding of factors related to mental health and wellbeing in early-stage doctoral students. No mental health and/or psychological wellbeing intervention in early-stage doctoral students was identified. The review underscores the need for more high-quality research to advance understanding of early-stage doctoral student mental health and psychological wellbeing. Based on the factors related to mental health and psychological wellbeing in the review, this paper discusses the potential utility of an ecological systems perspective to understand mental health and psychological wellbeing in early-stage doctoral students.

Keywords:mental health, Wellbeing, doctoral research students, doctoral education
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C841 Health Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:46563
Deposited On:05 Oct 2021 11:03

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