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Promoting the mental health, wellbeing, and resilience of postgraduate researchers: An institutional perspective.

Casey, C., 2023. Promoting the mental health, wellbeing, and resilience of postgraduate researchers: An institutional perspective. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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CASEY, Chloe_Ph.D._2023.pdf
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The mental health and wellbeing of postgraduate researchers (PGRs) is a priority in the UK, with a recent increase in research interest. A review of existing literature revealed various multi- faceted factors underpinning the issue. This literature review also identified multiple survey- based studies which reported diverse prevalence rates. Several small-scale interventions promoting positive mental health have been conducted within universities nationally. However, these interventions tend not to be grounded in psychological theory, seldom involve students in their production, and often lack comprehensive mixed methods evaluation, leading to varying success. Therefore, there remains a need for evidence-based, co-produced interventions for PGR mental health and wellbeing. A multi-phase study was conducted at a single post-92 university in South England between 2018-2021. This mixed methods research was a collaborative, iterative, and dynamic process, with student engagement throughout. In the first phase, PGRs from the institution participated in an online survey and follow-up interviews, exploring the factors that affect their mental health, producing an evidence base. The findings highlighted that PGRs had significantly lower wellbeing and resilience in comparison to general population averages. Qualitative analysis identified three key themes underpinning this: Control, Balance, and Coping. Based on these findings, three discrete four–six-week online pilot interventions were co-created with PGR focus groups: project planning, mindfulness, and mentoring. A fourth intervention was embedded across campus within the existing virtual learning environment (VLE), creating a peer support area. These interventions aimed to promote mental health, wellbeing, and resilience through increasing adaptive coping. The final phase of the project involved implementing and evaluating these interventions within a feasibility study. This thesis makes an original contribution to knowledge by furthering the understanding of the specific experiences of PGRs studying in the UK and how these interact with mental health, wellbeing, and resilience. By disseminating the challenges, limitations, and feasibility of four co- produced novel interventions, this thesis provides evidence to support the development of larger-scale interventions to promote positive mental health in PGRs nationally. It also provides considerations and recommendations for supervisors, doctoral schools, and universities to support mentally healthy and successful postgraduate research communities within UK higher education and beyond.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:mental health; resilience; wellbeing; higher education; postgraduate research
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:39128
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:14 Nov 2023 15:27
Last Modified:14 Nov 2023 15:27


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