Measuring PhD students’ well-being: Are we seeing the whole picture?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


The well-being of PhD students has become of interest recently after reports of high levels of psychological distress and mental illness amongst these students. To measure well-being among PhD students, some studies have used instruments that measure constructs related to well-being, most commonly psychological distress, whilst other aspects of well-being are overlooked. This review used a systematic approach to investigate how well-being is conceptualised in this literature and to identify and evaluate the quality of instruments used to measure PhD students’ well-being. The search strategy identified 19 articles for inclusion. Most studies measured constructs related to well-being, mainly mental illness symptoms, or constructs associated with subjective well-being and self-determination theory. Few studies measured aspects of psychological well-being. Furthermore, few questionnaires were validated for a PhD student population and many measures had no validity or reliability information available. Future research should be conducted using good quality measures to assess overlooked aspects of the six-factor model of well-being and provide a comprehensive assessment of well-being in this student group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages11
JournalStudent Success
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019. This work is published under (the “License”). Notwithstanding
the ProQuest Terms and Conditions, you may use this content in accordance
with the terms of the License.


  • Doctorate students
  • Mental health
  • PhD students
  • Psychological well-being
  • Well-being


Dive into the research topics of 'Measuring PhD students’ well-being: Are we seeing the whole picture?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this