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A PhD state of mind
Nature Research Journal
the University of California, Berkeley
the Royal Society
the Wellcome Trust
Nature Publishing AG



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Positivity     34.00%   
   Negativity   66.00%
The New York Times
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Despite the lack of extensive data, the negative impact of the stresses of lab life should not be underestimated, and PhD students and research trainees should be supported.It is an uncomfortable fact of lab life that a student in pursuit of a doctorate is likely to experience the PhD blues at some point in his or her training. Nature’s 2017 survey on the lives and career aspirations of ~5,700 PhD students worldwide ( reported that although roughly three quarters of respondents were satisfied with their PhD programmes overall, more than a quarter saw mental health as an area of concern, with 12% having sought help for anxiety or depression caused by their PhD studies. A 2014 study at the University of California, Berkeley ( found high levels of depression among 790 postgraduate students with 47% of PhD students meeting the criteria to be classified as depressed.On reviewing the literature on mental health in research environments, a 2017 report by the Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust in the UK (, noted that the evidence is too limited to permit robust conclusions about the mental health status and needs of researchers. Recognising the negative impact of daily lab stresses on the individual, and cultivating a culture of openness, are key steps towards establishing appropriate support systems to help students overcome the pressures of the research world.To obtain permission to re-use content from this article visit RightsLink.28 March 2018 Citations108 Altmetric

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