Understanding suicidality and reasons for living amongst Doctoral Researchers: A thematic analysis of qualitative U-DOC survey data

Hazell, C.M., Berry, C., Niven, J. E. and Mackenzie, J.-M. 2021. Understanding suicidality and reasons for living amongst Doctoral Researchers: A thematic analysis of qualitative U-DOC survey data. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12437

TitleUnderstanding suicidality and reasons for living amongst Doctoral Researchers: A thematic analysis of qualitative U-DOC survey data
TypeJournal article
AuthorsHazell, C.M., Berry, C., Niven, J. E. and Mackenzie, J.-M.
Abstract

Evidence regarding the mental health of doctoral researchers (DRs) is very limited; that which exists suggests DRs are particularly vulnerable to experiencing mental health difficulties during their PhD. Despite the associated jeopardy, however, to our knowledge there are no data published nor in the grey literature, reporting on suicidality amongst DRs. Using an online survey, we invited UK DRs to complete the Suicide Behaviour Questionnaire-Revised and qualitatively describe their experience of suicidality and its association with their PhD studies. A total of 1,263 DRs provided these data, with 40% of these participants meeting Suicide Behaviour Questionnaire-Revised criteria for being at high risk of suicide. Within the qualitative data, we identified three higher-order themes: (a) lived experience of suicidality; (b) PhD: the good, the bad, the ugly; and (c) life outside the PhD. Our findings suggest that suicidality is a common, yet complex and nuanced, experience amongst doctoral researchers. Identifiable elements of the PhD and personal lives can increase or protect against suicidality. The risk and protective factors identified here require verification using quantitative methods, but still support the immediate need for universities to respond to the risk of suicidality amongst their DRs.

JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
ISSN1473-3145
1746-1405
Year2021
PublisherWiley
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12437
Web address (URL)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/capr.12437
Publication dates
Published online11 Jul 2021

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