Ph.D. Students Are More Prone To Psychiatric Disorders, Study Finds

By Abbie Kraft, Parent Herald April 19, 09:48 pm

A study revealed that Ph.D. students are more likely to suffer from mental health concerns compared to their peers. These students suffered depression, anxiety and high levels of stress. 

The study, which involved 3,695 students who were enrolled in Ph.D. classes, found that the students experienced a lack of sleep, intense stress, depression and anxiety. Almost 50 percent of the participants displayed various psychiatric conditions, compared to their counterparts who also went through an extensive amount of studying but were not taking Ph.D. courses. The research, which involved universities in Flanders, Belgium, was published in Research Gate.

Almost half of the students who took up Ph.D. courses shared that they experience at least two symptoms of poor mental health. One-third of the students, on the other hand, said that they experience three or more symptoms of psychiatric problems compared to their peers.

"A potential alternative interpretation of our findings could, for instance, be that Ph.D. students experiencing mental health problems are more likely to evaluate their environmental conditions negatively," the researchers stated in their study.

According to the Ph.D. students, three of the most prominent symptoms were depression, constant strain, and lack of sleep. Despite the prominent evidence that involved poor mental health, researchers explained that they could not pinpoint the exact correlation of the Ph.D. studies and the student's mental health.  The researchers, however, mentioned that the environmental factor of Ph.D. courses can potentially affect the student's overall wellness.

"When people have a clear vision of the future and the path that they are taking, this provides a sense of meaningfulness, progress, and control, which should be a protective factor against mental health problems," the authors of the study explained.

Various studies have already unveiled the correlation of school and the student's mental health. Despite the growing numbers, the students' mental health are often taken for granted, according to NPR.

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