Understanding Postgraduate Research Students Disclosure of Mental Health Challenges within the UK University Context

Zile, Amy (2023) Understanding Postgraduate Research Students Disclosure of Mental Health Challenges within the UK University Context. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Postgraduate Research Student (PGR) mental health is a growing area of interest to Higher Education Institutions and researchers due to the attrition and potential suicide risk in this population. The aim of this Thesis was to explore perceptions and experiences of disclosing a mental health challenge within the university context. This was achieved through a systematic literature review and three sequential multi-method studies exploring student disclosure of mental health challenges, including a quantitative survey and qualitative interviews with PGRs and supervisors. It was found that few studies examined the PGR experience of disclosing mental health challenges, and the differences between PGRs and taught students is often unacknowledged in policy and practice. The experience of doing a PhD can have substantial impact on the mental health of PGRs (both positive and negative) and PGRs are reluctant to talk about mental health due to the importance of the supervisory relationship, and impact on supervisory perceptions. Supervisors felt ill-equipped to encourage and support disclosures, whilst institutions expected them to support the mental health and pastoral needs of their PGRs. HEIs are not adequately recognising, rewarding, or work-loading the complex and valuable role that supervisors play in PGR success. The results of the multi-method studies are then discussed in relation to existing literature within the field and the pandemic. Reflection is made on the quality of the studies and role of the researcher and a series of recommendations for the UK Higher Education sector, researchers and university communities are presented in relation to policy, process, and individual action.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2023 08:43
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 08:43
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/93274


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