Why fit in when you were born to stand out? The role of peer support in preventing and mitigating research-related stress among doctoral researchers

Muhammad, Sufyan and Ghouri, Ahmad (2019) Why fit in when you were born to stand out? The role of peer support in preventing and mitigating research-related stress among doctoral researchers. Social Epistemology. pp. 1-19. ISSN 1464-5297

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Abstract

This paper probes the two fundamental questions: 1) how do research stressors, related to PhD research in general and to fieldwork in particular, transform into stress for doctoral researchers; and 2) how can peers assist in stress prevention and stress mitigation? The paper dissects the existing literature at conceptual, theoretical and practical levels. To provide a theoretical framework by which research stressors can be identified in doctoral researchers, we first combine the Demand-Resource (D-R) model with Conservation of Resource (COR) theory. We argue that this catalysed theoretical framework provides more effective primary mechanisms to identify stress in doctoral researchers. Secondly, drawing on Social Support Theory, we develop a peer support model of stress prevention and stress mitigation through four types of peer support: 1) informational; 2) emotional; 3) instrumental; and 4) social companionship. Thirdly, the socio-psychological mechanisms underlying Social Support Theory through which peer support can assist in pre- and post-stress situations are analysed to strengthen the explanatory power and practical usefulness of the proposed peer support model. The paper argues that researchers that actively develop a wider spread of peer support in accordance with our peer support model are more likely to cope with the research-related stress effectively during and after their projects and challenging fieldwork.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Peer support, researcher stress, secondary trauma, social support, stress prevention, stress mitigation
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1050.9 Educational psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1050.9 Educational psychology > LB1060 Learning
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB3602 School life. Student manners and customs
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Depositing User: Ahmad Ghouri
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2019 08:19
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2019 11:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/87932

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