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Mental health and wellbeing of postgraduate researchers: exploring the relationship between mental health literacy, help-seeking behaviour, psychological distress, and wellbeing.

Moss, R.A.; Gorczynski, P.; Sims-Schouten, W.; Heard-Laureote, K.; Creaton, J.

Authors

P. Gorczynski

W. Sims-Schouten

K. Heard-Laureote

J. Creaton



Abstract

Studies of Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) have highlighted that the population may be at risk of developing symptoms of common mental health problems. Early intervention and preventative measures may reduce this risk, such as improving mental health literacy (MHL). However, it is unclear what the relationship is between MHL and outcomes such as help-seeking behaviour, psychological distress and wellbeing, in PGRs. Therefore, the current study aimed to explore this relationship. A secondary aim of this study was to compare data collected from PGRs with undergraduate students. Two hundred and forty-one PGRs from two universities in England completed an anonymous online quantitative survey, with PGRs reporting on their MHL, help-seeking behaviour, psychological distress, and wellbeing, in addition to demographic and academic characteristics. Results indicated that 70% of PGRs were experiencing symptoms categorised as mild to severe psychological distress. Stepwise multiple regressions revealed that lower levels of wellbeing predicted higher levels of distress and lower levels of help-seeking behaviour. Compared with undergraduate students, PGRs in this study reported higher levels of psychological distress compared to undergraduate students, after adjusting for age, sex, and previous diagnosis of a mental health problem, as well as MHL, after adjusting for sex and previous diagnosis (p < 0.05). No significant differences were observed between the groups for help-seeking behaviour, or wellbeing (all p > 0.05). Study findings suggest that PGRs, at the start of the academic year, are distressed and may not be seeking appropriate help for their concerns. Further studies should explore the environmental factors that may exacerbate mental health concerns beyond that associated with a challenging degree, within the PGR population.

Citation

MOSS, R., GORCZYNSKI, P., SIMS-SCHOUTEN, W., HEARD-LAUREOTE, K. and CREATON, J. [2021]. Mental health and wellbeing of postgraduate researchers: exploring the relationship between mental health literacy, help-seeking behaviour, psychological distress, and wellbeing. Higher education research and development [online], Latest Articles. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2021.1906210

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 7, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 31, 2021
Deposit Date Jun 7, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jun 7, 2021
Journal Higher education research and development
Print ISSN 0729-4360
Electronic ISSN 1469-8366
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2021.1906210
Keywords Postgraduate researcher; Mental health; Psychological distress; Student; Mental health literacy
Public URL https://rgu-repository.worktribe.com/output/1317984

Files

MOSS 2021 Mental health (VOR) (2 Mb)
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Publisher Licence URL
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Technical Information
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.





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