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How Understanding Doctoral Researchers’ Coping Strategies Can Inform Higher Education Institutions’ Response to Their Stress
Doctoral researchers report higher levels of stress and are at an elevated risk of mental ill health compared with undergraduate students and whole population normative data. Evaluating their reported coping strategies is essential for universities to develop interventions to address this.
Content analysis was used to code 182 reported reactions to stress gathered via a qualitative survey. A framework based on a model of occupational stress in academic settings and additional inductively driven categories were used to code the data. It was also coded into maladaptive and adaptive responses. The most common adaptive strategies included ‘cognitive coping’, ‘social support’ and ‘active leisure’. Maladaptive strategies included ‘rumination’, ‘overworking’ and reports of having ‘no strategy’ to cope.
Sub-group analyses showed some differentiation in coping strategies by gender and whether DRs were academic staff whilst frequencies of reported categories revealed different strategies were adopted at different stages of programmes. Based on these findings the authors acknowledge that coping is a multi-dimensional process. The implications in terms of developing supportive interventions and mitigating less adaptive coping strategies are discussed.
PublisherTaylor and Francis
- VoR (Version of Record)
CitationMercer, J. & Thomas, J. (2024) 'How Understanding Doctoral Researchers’ Coping Strategies Can Inform Higher Education Institutions’ Response to Their Stress,' Research in Post-Compulsory Education https://doi.org/10.1080/13596748.2023.2285632
Cardiff Met Affiliation
- Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences
Cardiff Met AuthorsJenny Mercer Jennifer Thomas
- © The Publisher