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Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education ; 12(1):1-6, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2051916


For PGRs, the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the impact on their ability to successfully complete their research within their funding period have been particularly significant, given that even prior to the pandemic, funding pressures were found to be a factor that could contribute to poor mental health and well-being among PGRs (Mattocks and Briscoe-Palmer, 2016;Metcalfe et al., 2018). Research by Levecque (2017) indicated that half of PhD students in a Belgian study experienced psychological distress and one in three were at risk of common psychiatric disorders, and a number of subsequent studies have confirmed the susceptibility of doctoral students to mental health and well-being issues (Hazell et al., 2020). A report commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council of England concluded that the specific challenges faced by PGRs required a bespoke policy response and that higher education institutions needed to invest more resources in student support services and associated activities to meet expected PGR demand (Metcalfe et al., 2018). Drawing on data from a longitudinal study of PhD students enrolled at a large research-intensive US university, this paper finds that students’ mental health and disciplinary identity do follow similar trajectories, generally declining during the first years of doctoral study.