PhD students suffer from psychological distress
PhD students suffer from psychological distress

For many people around the world, nothing can beat bagging a Ph.D., as while for some it’s all about the name, for others is definitely an advancement in career, or for other reasons.

The bad news is that there is a price to pay for most, and I am not talking about the 3-5 years you spend. Rather, I am talking about mental health problems, which could be in the form of chronic anxiety to clinical depression.

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That is according to a new study which has indicated that one, in every two Ph.D. students, experiences psychological distress, and one, in every three, is at risk of experiencing a psychiatric disorder. This may either be over the short or long-term – particularly depression.

Appearing in the journal Research Policy, the research shows that among other things they suffer, the most prevalent include feelings of being under constant strain, unhappiness and depression, as well as sleeping problems due to worries, inability to overcome difficulties and not being able to enjoy day-to-day activities.

More so, the Ghent University led team stated that the reason behind these problems is the constant strain they suffer due to work-family conflict. This mostly comes when they try to manage demands of research which happens to interfere with their family or personal life.Common factors here include work overload, unrealistic demands, unsupportive supervisors or interpersonal problems at work.

This comes up when there is work overload, demands that are mostly unrealistic, unsupportive supervisors, or interpersonal problems at work.

According to the study,  a Ph.D. student is 2.4 times more likely to develop mental health problems than those in the general population with an undergraduate degree.

It also pointed out that “The prevalence of mental health problems is higher in Ph.D. students than in the highly educated general population, highly educated employees, and higher education students.

Findings of the study were reached after an analysis of the mental health status of 3,659 Ph.D. researchers in Belgium. Nevertheless, it is suggested that the result may be the same or similar in most places around the world.