Article Notes

autoauto- Personaland Academic Social Interactions for example.auto – With the spouse and familyauto – Faculty and the university at largeauto- The Scholarly Communityauto- Dropping outauto- Interrupting studiesauto- Burnoutauto- Intending to leave academia after completion of the PhDauto – Higher among hard applied and soft applied disciplinesauto- Personality traitsauto – Neuroticism extraversion and affectauto – Pychyl 1998auto- Peer relationships passion, and social suppotauto – Identified coping resourcesauto- Structural forcesauto- External reflectionauto- Social factorsauto- Schmidt 2014auto- Coping ability and strategiesauto- Martinez 2013auto- Carver 2010auto- Strong emphasis on social support as a way of coping.auto- Cling to the spiritual realmauto- Haynes 2012auto- Survival-oriented coping strategies: Using an academic mask.auto- Shavers 2014auto- Professional Self-care Scaleauto – Professional support, cognitive, awareness,professional development, life balance, and daily balance.auto- Zahniser 2017auto- Self-reflection and self-care strategiesauto – Self-care and promotion of self-care by the institution are of equal importanceauto- Kumar 2018auto- Stressors Unique to doctoral studentsauto- Suggested solutionsauto- Gaps in researchauto- Asset Based Community Development (ABCD)auto- Referencesautoauto

Personaland Academic Social Interactions for example.

Such interactions also relate to social support in general (Juniper et al., 2012); (Kumar & Cavallaro, 2018); (Martinez et al., 2013); (Pychyl & Little, 1998).

Attention was mainly paid to the social processes created by interacting with external actors.

Finally, one study found that organizational support and supervisor support were positively related to work engagement (Caesens et al., 2014), which in turn had positive effects on well-being, illustrating once again the complexity of the concepts involved.

With the spouse and family

(Martinez et al., 2013); (Schmidt & Umans, 2014),

supervisors (Caesens et al., 2014); (Cornér et al., 2017); (Devine & Hunter, 2016) (Juniper et al., 2012); (Schmidt & Umans, 2014)

Finally, one study found that organizational support and supervisor support were positively related to work engagement (Caesens et al., 2014), which in turn had positive effects on well-being, illustrating once again the complexity of the concepts involved.

Faculty and the university at large

(Caesens et al., 2014); (Devine & Hunter, 2016); (Juniper et al., 2012); (Martinez et al., 2013); (Schmidt & Umans, 2014); (Zahniser et al., 2017).

Finally, one study found that organizational support and supervisor support were positively related to work engagement (Caesens et al., 2014), which in turn had positive effects on well-being, illustrating once again the complexity of the concepts involved.

The Scholarly Community

The scholarly community (Cornér et al., 2017); (Devine & Hunter, 2016); (Schmidt & Umans, 2014); (Stubb et al., 2011).

Finally, one study found that organizational support and supervisor support were positively related to work engagement (Caesens et al., 2014), which in turn had positive effects on well-being, illustrating once again the complexity of the concepts involved.


Dropping out

(Anttila et al., 2015)1 In one study, 56% considered dropping out at some point during the PhD process, and that decision was influenced by experiences of stress, anxiety, exhaustion, and lack of interest (Anttila et al., 2015).


Interrupting studies

(Stubb et al., 2011)2 Yet another study reported that 43% of the sample considered interrupting their studies (Stubb et al., 2011).

Variation in well-being were also found to be related to work condition, i.e., full-time students and those partially belonging to a research group reported higher levels of well-being (Stubb et al., 2011)


Burnout

(Cornér et al., 2017)3Experiences of burnout increased the risk of dropping out, while receiving supervision from several supervisors decreased this risk (Cornér et al., 2017).


Intending to leave academia after completion of the PhD

Higher among hard applied and soft applied disciplines

(Devine & Hunter, 2016)4

The notion of doctoral students’ intending to leave academia after completion of the PhD was supported by the study by Hunter and Devine (Hunter & Devine, 2016). About one third of the sample intended leaving academia, which correlated with experiences of well-being in terms of emotional exhaustion during the PhD process.

Intention to leave academia after completion of the thesis was higher among students belonging to the hard applied and soft applied disciplines (Hunter & Devine, 2016).


Personality traits

Neuroticism extraversion and affect

Pychyl 1998

Peer relationships passion, and social suppot

Identified coping resources

(Pychyl & Little, 1998)5 Furthermore, one study identified personality traits as having an impact on doctoral student well-being. Pychyl and Little (1998) demonstrated that neuroticism correlated positively with a negative affect, and extraversion with a positive affect.

Pychyl and Little (1998) further identified feelings of guilt and anxiety as contributors to stress.

Peer relationships (Schmidt & Umans, 2014), passion, and social support (Pychyl & Little, 1998) were other identified coping resources used by doctoral students.


Structural forces

External reflection

Social factors

Schmidt 2014

(Schmidt & Umans, 2014)6 The existence of feelings of guilt and frustration was reaffirmed by the study of Schmidt and Umans (2014).

Peer relationships (Schmidt & Umans, 2014), passion, and social support (Pychyl & Little, 1998) were other identified coping resources used by doctoral students.

Several articles described doctoral student wellbeing as related to structural forces (Schmidt & Umans, 2014), outside forces (Haynes et al., 2012), external reflection, and social factors (Haynes et al., 2012) as well as being in the sphere of others (Schmidt & Umans, 2014).


Coping ability and strategies

Martinez 2013

(Martinez et al., 2013)7 Coping ability is yet another central aspect of doctoral student well-being. For these students, coping mechanisms are necessary to manage stress and to maintain sanity, physical health, and mental wellbeing— that is, to remain healthy (Martinez et al., 2013).

In addition, planning (i.e., problem-focused coping), and exercise (Martinez et al., 2013) were mentioned as coping mechanisms specific to doctoral students

Crying, isolation, and social interactions with friends all served as coping strategies for the studied doctoral students (Martinez et al., 2013)


Carver 2010

(Carver & Connor-Smith, 2010)8 (Folkman & Lazarus, 1984)9 People can respond to stressors in many different ways, for example, working to solve the problem (i.e., problem-focused coping) or reaching out for social support (Carver & Connor-Smith, 2010; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984).


Strong emphasis on social support as a way of coping.

(Schmidt & Hansson, 2018)

The results of the review indicate a strong emphasis on social support as a way of coping.


Cling to the spiritual realm

Haynes 2012

(Haynes et al., 2012)10

One study identified “cling[ing] to the spiritual realm”(p. 9) as a coping strategy and found that success in developing coping strategies conferred a certain sense of control (Haynes et al., 2012).

Several articles described doctoral student wellbeing as related to structural forces (Schmidt & Umans, 2014), outside forces (Haynes et al., 2012), external reflection, and social factors (Haynes et al., 2012) as well as being in the sphere of others (Schmidt & Umans, 2014).


Survival-oriented coping strategies: Using an academic mask.

Shavers 2014

(Shavers & Moore, 2014)11 Shavers and Moore (2014) found that doctoral students used coping strategies to overcome oppression and to help them persevere academically. An identified coping strategy involved shifting between different selves and using an academic mask; yet, instead of maintaining well-being and fostering optimal, healthy coping, this strategy was categorized as survival- oriented, and using it led to feelings of incompleteness, disconnectedness, and exhaustion.


Professional Self-care Scale

Professional support, cognitive, awareness,professional development, life balance, and daily balance.

Zahniser 2017

(Zahniser et al., 2017)12

Yet another strategy with a particular focus on health prevention was mentioned. Self-care according to the Professional Self-care Scale for Psychologists by Dorociak comprises professional support, cognitive awareness, professional development, life balance, and daily balance. All these aspects have been shown to increase well-being, however the first two aspects are of particular importance (Zahniser, et al., 2017).

(Zahniser et al., 2017) This 21-item scale is designed to measure proactive, preventive self-care and features subscales that assess five aspects of self-care relevant to personal and professional functioning in the field of mental health care: professional support (5 items; e.g., “I cultivate professional relationships with my colleagues”); professional development (5 items; e.g., “I find ways to stay current in professional knowledge”); life balance (4 items; e.g., “I seek out activities or people that are comforting to me”); cognitive awareness (4 items; e.g., “I monitor my feelings and reactions to clients”); and daily balance (3 items; e.g., “I take breaks throughout the workday”). Participants are asked to indicate the frequency with which they engage in each self-care behavior on a scale from 1 (never) to 7 (always). These factor subscales have been found to have good internal consistency and to relate to wellbeing outcomes in professional psychologists (Dorociak et al., 2017). In the present study, Cronbach’s alphas for subscales were adequate (s ranging from .70 –.80) with the exception of cognitive awareness (  .65). Despite this modest coefficient, removing any one of this subscale’s four items did not improve reliability. As such, the subscale was retained in its entirety.


Self-reflection and self-care strategies

Self-care and promotion of self-care by the institution are of equal importance

Kumar 2018

(Kumar & Cavallaro, 2018)13 Another study reported self-reflection, yoga, social network support, biking or walking, and compartmentalization as examples of self-care strategies (Kumar & Cavallaro, 2018), stressing in their conceptual framework that individual driven self-care and promotion of self-care by the institution are of equal importance.


Stressors Unique to doctoral students

(Martinez et al., 2013) Several circumstances mentioned in the studies can be summarized as stressors, some of them chronic. Deadlines, limited finances, time, family issues, and relationships were all mentioned as stressors. Another stressor was the need to take on additional responsibilities to position oneself after graduation, while competing commitments led to less enjoyment, motivation issues, problems finishing the dissertation, and ambiguity (Martinez et al., 2013).

Managing stress was described as a balancing act, in which the high expectations of various actors, and domestic demands when living a dual life (i.e., being a “superwoman”) had to be balanced to keep stress manageable (Schmidt & Umans, 2014).

Lack of control (Haynes et al., 2012); (Schmidt & Umans, 2014)) was yet another stressor affecting doctoral students’ work, well-being, and health. (Pychyl & Little, 1998) identified time pressure, time conflicts, and procrastination as stressors.

Some factors could be attributed a dual function: for example, relationships, supervisors, and the scholarly community could all provide support and function as coping mechanisms at times, yet at other times could also be seen as stressors.

Examples of how doctoral students’ well-being can be influenced and understood is shown in Table IV (Schmidt & Hansson, 2018).

The interaction between the self and external forces is where one’s unique well-being constantly evolves (Haynes et al., 2012); (Schmidt & Umans, 2014); (Stubb et al., 2011). Yet, when influenced by external forces, well-being can rapidly develop into an upward or downward spiral. If the work–life balance (Zahniser et al., 2017); (Haynes et al., 2012); (Martinez et al., 2013); (Pychyl & Little, 1998)cannot be maintained, this will ultimately affect the doctoral students’ well-being and produce spill-over effects on their lives more generally.


Suggested solutions

Developing optimal resistance strategies to enhance well-being, such as teaching doctoral students to affirm themselves daily and develop positive thinking patterns ((Shavers & Moore, 2014); evaluating and/or developing policies addressing, for example, academic climate or discrimination in PhD programmes (Schmidt & Umans, 2014); (Shavers & Moore, 2014); creating an arena for shared meaning using supervisory contract (Stubb et al., 2011); fostering peer groups as important and meaningful communities for students (Stubb et al., 2011); organizing health and wellness biofeedback labs, recreational sports groups and fitness classes, and seminars on time management (Haynes et al., 2012); training supervisors in mentoring and supervision, and creating a structured model to help advisers provide feedback, in terms of both academic research and relationship management (Devine & Hunter, 2016).


Gaps in research

Only a few studies address potential differences arising from this diversity(Schmidt & Hansson, 2018).


LEFT OFF ON Weaknesses . . .


(Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), 2018) ## Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) unexpected “2” “Asset Based Community Development in Practice ABCD is an approach built on tried and tested methods from sustainable community development practice. It is not a set formula that can be prescribed in a one size fits all manner. Here are basic common steps reflecting the experience and principles of applying an asset based approach.”

1) Collect stories

Stories are collections of the cultural capital of a community. The listening conversation can engage people’s experience of successful activities that will help to uncover the gifts, skills, talents and assets within the community. From the stories, what people care about and their motivations to act can be discovered. Importantly this form of inquiry does not diminish but reinforces citizens as the centre of their community.

2) Bring together a core group

From the stories, people will emerge who have shown commitment and leadership in the past or who are currently taking a leadership role. Next bring together a group of these committed individuals who are interested in exploring the community’s assets, identifying opportunities and leading developmental action. Engaged and motivated to act on what they care about, using their strengths and gifts, these individuals will open networks of relationships inside the community.

3) Map the gifts, capacities and assets of individuals, associations, and local institutions

Citizens and their associations do the asset mapping so that they build new relationships, learn more about the contributions and talents of community members, identify connections that open opportunities and enable change. The objectives are: Identifying associations A list of associations can then be clustered by type and those associations most likely to participate in working together for a common purpose can be identified. In the process of identifying associations, the list of leaders in the community also expands. Identifying individual gifts, skills, and capacities The focus is to show people that their abilities and contributions are appreciated. A capacity inventory will be developed listing these capacities in categories such as community-building, enterprise, teaching, artistic or other skills. The categories should reflect the self identified strengths of the community, and not an external requirements list. Identifying the assets of local institutions This includes government services, non-government service providers and private sector businesses. These assets could be the services they provide, meeting places, the equipment and other supplies they can make available, communications links and staff who can envision the wider benefits for the whole community of stronger relationships. Identifying physical assets and natural resources This is a list of the potentials of a place, in which new ideas and re-imaginings can emerge. It is not a dry list for valuations, but revealing and understanding of the foundations on which development can be built. Because access and use has different conditions those which are communally owned and managed should be identified separately from those which are individually owned and managed. Mapping the local economy Provision of services has led to a distancing of community understanding from how their needs can be met. This process returns knowledge to people in the community of how the local economy works. With this people can see how well local resources are maximised for local economic benefit, and evaluate plans for economic development that can enhance local provision for externally provided services that drain resource away from the local economy.

4) Find and engage connectors who can build relationships

Lasting change comes from within the community and local people know what needs to change. Possibly the most vital step of Asset Based Community Development is encouraging the building of new relationships and strengthening and expanding existing ones. This is the heart of community building, and will lead to the immeasurable benefit that communities protect and support what they create. 1) Ask the gathered community to lead the creation of a community vision and plan Asset Based Community Development’s core idea is that communities can drive the development process themselves by identifying and mobilizing existing, but often unrecognised assets. This requires a strong commitment to community driven efforts through active citizenship and participatory democratic methods. The community can meet the challenge to match assets with opportunities and decide their organising theme. A concrete, achievable and understood activity should be selected within that organising theme to begin working on right away. 6) Engage the self mobilisation of the community’s assets by action applied through association. When people know what to do to succeed, know what success looks like, can see where to start and that it can be achieved within available resources, the chosen activity will have have a unifying and strengthening outcome. This creates the self-mobilisation as an ongoing process. Associations lead transformative efforts for local social and economic development. This leads to information sharing and realisation of what can further be achieved through new connections and association. From this emerges larger community-wide connected associations with common purpose. 7) Lever knowledge of the community’s assets and strengths to secure investments and resources needed from outside the community for community-driven development. Institutions lead by “stepping back” into a supporting and helping role, leaving decision-making to associational leaders to facilitate within the community. Achieving a community vision begins with people that realise the power of their associations and accepting the challenge of making things happen. External resources are not sought until local resources have been utilised and clear understanding of what is needed is known. This crucially changes the dynamic of community interaction with institutions, from the community being under pressure to shape themselves to the externally provided services being offered to now utilising resource and investment that creates sustainable community development.

References

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Asset based community development (ABCD). (2018). [Technical report]. Nurture Development. https://www.nurturedevelopment.org/asset-based-community-development/#: :text=Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is an approach,to sustainable community-driven development.&text=Asset Based Community Development’s premise,existing, but often unrecognised assets.
Caesens, G., Stinglhamber, F., & Luypaert, G. (2014). The impact of work engagement and workaholism on well-being. Career Development International, 19(7), 813–835. https://doi.org/10.1108/cdi-09-2013-0114
Carver, C. S., & Connor-Smith, J. (2010). Personality and coping. Annual Review of Psychology, 61(1), 679–704. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.093008.100352
Cornér, S., Löfström, E., & Pyhältö, K. (2017). The relationships between doctoral students’ perceptions of supervision and burnout. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 12, 091–106. https://doi.org/10.28945/3754
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Pychyl, T. A., & Little, B. R. (1998). Dimensional specificity in the prediction of subjective well-being: Personal projects in pursuit of the PhD. Social Indicators Research, 45(1-3), 423–473.
Schmidt, M., & Hansson, E. (2018, January). Doctoral students’ well-being: A literature review (No. 1). International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being; Informa UK Limited. https://doi.org/10.1080/17482631.2018.1508171
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Shavers, M. C., & Moore, J. L. (2014). Black female voices: Self-presentation strategies in doctoral programs at predominately white institutions. Journal of College Student Development, 55(4), 391–407. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.2014.0040
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  1. Anttila, H., Lindblom-Ylänne, S., Lonka, K., & Pyhältö, K. (2015). The added value of a PhD in medicine-PhD Students’ perceptions of acquired competences.International Journal of Higher Education, 4(2), 172.↩︎

  2. Stubb, J., Pyhältö, K., & Lonka, K. (2011). Balancing between inspiration and exhaustion: PhD students’ experienced socio-psychological well-being. Studies in Continuing Education, 33(1), 33–50. Stubb, J., Pyhältö, K., & Lonka,↩︎

  3. Cornér, S., Löfström, E., & Pyhältö, K. (2017). The relationship between Doctoral students’ perceptions of supervision and burnout. International Journal of Doctoral Studies. doi:10.28945/3754↩︎

  4. Hunter, K. H., & Devine, K. (2016). Doctoral students’ emotional exhaustion and intentions to leave academia. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 11, 35–61.↩︎

  5. Pychyl, T. A., & Little, B. R. (1998). Dimensional specificity in the prediction of subjective well-being: Personal projects in pursuit of the PhD. Social Indicators Research, 45(1), 423–473.↩︎

  6. Schmidt, M., & Umans, T. (2014). Experiences of well-being among female doctoral students in Sweden. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being, 9 (1). doi:10.3402/qhw.v9.23059↩︎

  7. Martinez, E., Ordu, C., Della Sala, M. R., & McFarlane, A. (2013). Striving to obtain a school-work-life balance: The full-time doctoral student. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 8(39–59). doi:10.28945/1765↩︎

  8. Carver, C. S., & Connor-Smith, J. (2010). Personality and coping. Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 679–704.↩︎

  9. Lazarus, R., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.↩︎

  10. Haynes, C., Bulosan, M., Citty, J., Grant-Harris, M., Hudson, J. C., & Koro-Ljungberg, M. (2012). My world is not my doctoral program. . . or is it?: Female students’ perceptions of well-being. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 7, 1–17.↩︎

  11. Shavers, M. C., & Moore, J. L., III. (2014). Black female voices: Self-presentation strategies in doctoral programs at predominately White institutions. Journal of College Student Development, 55(4), 391–407.↩︎

  12. Zahniser, E., Rupert, P. A., & Dorociak, K. E. (2017). Self-care in clinical psychology graduate training. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 11(4), 283.↩︎

  13. Kumar, S., & Cavallaro, L. (2018). Researcher self-care in emotionally demanding research: A proposed conceptual framework. Qualitative Health Research, 28(4), 648–658.↩︎

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