Understanding Graduate Student Perspectives of Mental Health – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Understanding Graduate Student Perspectives of Mental Health

Dynasia Tran

Dynasia Tran

Pronouns: she. her, hers

Research Mentor(s): Kentaro Toyama, Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: School of Information,
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 4 (2pm-2:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 19
Presenter: 5

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Mental health challenges are rising in higher education across the United States. We investigate doctoral students’ experiences concerning mental health in academia and their perceptions of university responses to wellbeing concerns. Through 30 semi-structured interviews with students enrolled in all levels of the PhD, we find that while participants are aware of wellbeing resources offered by the university, their perceptions suggest the short-term nature of counseling is not fit for graduate students’ needs. Although participants from all backgrounds reported feeling anxiety and impostor syndrome on account of their academic experiences, such problems are exacerbated for members of minoritized groups, many of whom do not see themselves reflected in role models or the canon of literature in their field. We identify tensions among expectations of knowledge construction and faculty advising. Our findings have implications for stronger institutional relationships with external counselors, increased peer group support, and effective communication about doctoral expectations.

Authors: Dynasia Tran, Fatima Wasi, Sylvia Simioni, Kentaro Toyama
Research Method: Qualitative Study

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