The mental health of UK postgraduate research students following the COVID-19 pandemic

Zile, Amy ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2658-1037, Porter, Bryony, Crozier, Kenda ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5328-9376 and Sanderson, Kristy ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3132-2745 (2023) The mental health of UK postgraduate research students following the COVID-19 pandemic. Education Sciences, 13 (11). ISSN 2227-7102

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Abstract

The mental health of postgraduate research students (PGRs) is a growing area of interest to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and researchers and has important implications for PGR wellbeing, success, and attrition. This study aimed to explore PGR experiences of mental health during the pandemic, the supervisory relationship, and seeking support. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 PGRs from across the UK. Questions invited PGRs to share their experience of supervision, the impact of supervision on their mental health, and any experience of discussing mental health with their supervisor(s). The experiences of supervision varied, as did the university responses to the pandemic and levels of supervisory support. A number of PGRs felt that their supervision experiences had negatively impacted their wellbeing and reported stigma and discriminatory practices. Themes identified included discourses, supervisory knowledge, university resources, and the research culture as key factors that impacted the mental health of PGRs. Supervisors often upheld perceptions of PhD life as being isolating, with negative impacts on wellbeing to be expected, setting expectations of overworking, anxiety, and stress. The move from pandemic to post-pandemic life posed both challenges and benefits. Issues of training on mental health awareness, university processes, and accessibility of services should be considered by HEIs.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: doctoral student,doctoral study,phd student,postgraduate research student,researcher mental health,student mental health,computer science (miscellaneous),education,physical therapy, sports therapy and rehabilitation,developmental and educational psychology,public administration,computer science applications ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1700/1701
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Institute for Volunteering Research
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Lifespan Health
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Norwich Institute for Healthy Aging
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Health Promotion
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2024 03:23
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2024 03:24
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/94329
DOI: 10.3390/educsci13111106

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