How does social support contribute to engaging Post-PhD experience?

Kirsi Pyhältö, Lynn McAlpine, Jouni Peltonen, Montserrat Castello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Social support from the supervisor and the researcher community has been identified as one of the determinants for successful completion of doctoral studies. Still surprisingly little is known about the function of social support for early career Post-PhD researchers. Even less is known about the individual variation in experienced social support among Post-PhD researchers. This study explores the function of social support in terms of experienced research engagement, burnout and abandonment intentions among Post-PhD researchers. Altogether, 282 Post-PhD researchers from UK and Spanish universities completed the survey. The cluster analysis was applied. Results show that the majority of participants experienced high levels of supervisory and researcher community support. Researchers representing an Adequate Support profile were less likely to experience burnout or to consider abandonment; they also experienced a higher degree of research engagement than their less fortunate counterparts. Further, Post-PhD researchers working in research groups were more likely to display the Adequate Support profile than those working primarily on their own. Strikingly, scientists were more likely than social scientists to be represented in the Reduced Support profile. Interestingly, there were no statistically significant differences between the UK and Spanish Post-PhD or female and male researchers in support profiles.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Higher Education
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)373-387
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences

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