Mental health: results from interviews

The majority of interviewees indicated that they have experienced some mental health issues.They do not solely relate it to their caregiving activities but consider it to be a combination of various factors. Nevertheless, the mental health of doctoral candidates should be taken seriously, because it is seen as a burden.

I think it is a combination [...] of the tasks of informal care [...] especially the mental aspect of someone in your family being really ill [...] in combination with the high workload [...] one thing was okay, but the combination of it was too much.

(112)

I think that these [burn-out symptomsj really arose because my parents will divorce. But the question is if this is really coming from giving the informal care or the emotional impact from separating, it will be a combination. And

Predictors

Strain

Not overcoming difficulties

Sleeping problems

Model 1

Model 2

Model 3

Model 1

Model 2

Model 3

Model 1

Model 2

Model 3

В

В

В

В

В

В

В

В

В

Step 1: background factors

Gender: female

-.05

-.05

-.09

.63*

.55*

.61*

.07

.06

-.08

Age

.08*

.08*

.07

.01

.01

.00

.02

.02

.01

Nationality: non-Dutch

.51

.51

.49

.76**

.83**

.79**

.60**

.58**

.54*

Discipline (ref: SSH)

(Bio)medical sciences

-.61*

-.61*

-.52

-.45

-.33

.-.28

-.24

-.22

-.19

Natural sciences

-.85**

-.85**

-.85**

-.22

-.11

-.12

-.22

-.20

-.20

Phase of PhD project: senior

.29

.29

.20

.12

-.09

-.08

.14

.11

.12

Step 2: PhD process factors

Satisfaction supervision (1: very dissatisfied, 5: very satisfied)

- .39***

-.38***

-.15

-.14

-.13

-.12

Satisfaction academic career perspective (1: very dissatisfied, 5: very satisfied)

-.24

-.21

_ 50***

-.03

-.01

Step 3: Informal caregiving

Informal caregiver (1: yes, 2: no)

-.71**

-.87***

-.54**

Nagelkerke R square

.10

.10

.20

.08

.17

.21

.10

.18

.20

Note: *, **, and *** denote statistically significant difference of the independent variable at the 10, 5, and 1% levels, respectively.

yes, then fatigue symptoms and anxiety arise of which you think: this is not good, I have to take it easier.

(R12)

Apart from strain that already exists within interviewees’ lives, any additional difficulties may prove to be problematic. Illustrated in the quote below is that if additional challenges arise, this will be very difficult to handle.

I’m happy my brother keeps on doing well, but my brother also had his moments in which it went less well. He can’t do this anymore now, because I won’t be able to handle that. I can’t force that, but ... Or something else, I mean if one of the children is really ill, I just wouldn’t be able to handle it.

(R21)

Sometimes one can also lose sleep because of the informal care situation. Below is a specific example of a relative going to an institution so that the caregiver would also be able to sleep:

Yes, there is no closed section [in the mental healthcare facility] [...]. It was actually for my well-being that she was committed, but also because she couldn’t take care of herself [...] Anyway, the entire household is on me. I assume a normal couple would divide this somewhat.

(RU)

 
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