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Work organization and mental health problems in PhD students

28 Mars 2017 , Rédigé par Bioécologie Publié dans #Livres - revues - thèses - rapports..., #Thèses - Post-doc - Emploi - Bourse

Katia Levecque a,b, , Frederik Anseel a,b,c , Alain De Beuckelaer d,e,a , Johan Van der Heyden f,g , Lydia Gisle f

a Department of Personnel Management, Work and Organizational Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Ghent University, Henri

Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

b ECOOM, Henri Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

c Department of Management and Technology, Bocconi University, Via Roberto Sarfatti 25, 20100 Milano, Italy

d Institute for Management Research, Radboud University, Thomas van Aquinostraat 3, 6525 GD Nijmegen, The Netherlands

e School of Sociology and Population Studies, Renmin University of China, No. 59 Zhongguancun Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100872, PR China

f Scientific Institute of Public Health, OD Public Health and Surveillance, Juliette Wytsmanstraat 14, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

g Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Ghent University, University Hospital, De Pintelaan  185, 9000 Ghent, Belgium


b s t r a c t


Research  policy observers  are increasingly concerned  about the potential  impact  of current  academic working conditions on mental health, particularly in PhD students. The aim of the current study is three-fold. First, we assess the prevalence of mental health problems in a representative sample of PhD students in Flanders,  Belgium  (N = 3659). Second, we compare  PhD students  to three other samples: (1) highly educated in the general population (N = 769); (2) highly educated employees (N = 592); and (3) higher education students (N = 333). Third, we assess those organizational factors relating to the role of PhD students that predict mental health status. Results based on 12 mental health symptoms (GHQ-12) showed that 32% of PhD students are at risk of having or developing a common psychiatric disorder, especially depression. This estimate was significantly higher than those obtained in the comparison groups. Organizational policies were significantly associated with the prevalence  of mental health problems. Especially work family interface, job demands  and job control, the supervisor’s leadership  style, team decision-making culture, and perception of a career outside academia  are linked to mental health problems.


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Work organization and mental health problems in PhD students
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