Measuring PhD Student’s Psychological Well-being: Are we seeing the whole picture?
The psychological well-being of PhD students has become of interest after reports of high levels of psychological distress and mental illness amongst these students. In an attempt to measure psychological well-being among PhD students, some studies have used instruments that measure constructs related to well-being, most commonly psychological distress, whilst overlooking some aspects of well-being. This review used a systematic approach to identify instruments used to measure PhD students in research and evaluate their quality. 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 this population and many measures had no validity or reliability information available. Future research should use good quality measures to assess overlooked aspects and provide a comprehensive assessment of well-being in this student group.