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      The effects of cumulative stressful educational events on the mental health of doctoral students during the COVID-19 pandemic

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            High rates of psychological distress including anxiety and depression are common in the doctoral community. With the COVID-19 pandemic taking a toll on mental health it is necessary to explore the riskand protective factors for this population. Using data from the Covid-19: Global Study of Social Trust and Mental Health, the present study examined the relationship between COVID-19-related cumulativestressful educational experiences and doctoral students’mental health problems. Moreover, it assessed therole of attentional ability and coping skills in promoting good mental health.Mental health problems were assessed using the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire and the 7-itemGeneralized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire to measure depression and anxiety symptoms, respectively.We measured coping skills using a 14-item questionnaire and attentional ability using a 7-itemquestionnaire.

            The results of multiple linear regression analyses showed that cumulative stressful educational experiencewere related to increased depression symptoms but not anxiety symptoms in fully adjusted models.Additionally, coping skills and attentional ability were related to both depression and anxiety symptoms.Finally, no associations between mental health problems and demographic factors or other covariates werefound.

            The experience of multiple educational stressful events due to COVID-19 is a key risk factor for increasedmental illness in the doctoral community. This could be explained by the uncertainty that the COVID-19pandemic has caused to the students.


            Author and article information

            UCL Open: Environment Preprint
            UCL Press
            1 November 2021
            [1 ] Psychology and Human Development, Institute of Education, UCL, 25 Woburn square London WC1H 0AA, UK
            [2 ] Institute of Child Health, UCL, 30 Guilford St, London WC1N 1EH, UK
            Author notes
            Author information

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            : 1 November 2021

            The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available in the repository: http://www.doi.org/10.5522/04/16583861
            Education,Social & Behavioral Sciences
            COVID-19,Doctoral students,Educational experiences,Mental health,Stressful events,Health


            Date: 09 November 2021

            Handling Editor: Prof Dan Osborn and Dr Matthew O. Gribble

            This article is a preprint article and has not been peer-reviewed. It is under consideration following submission to UCL Open: Environment for open peer review.

            2022-01-06 15:32 UTC

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