University of Oulu

Tikkanen L, Pyhältö K, Bujacz A and Nieminen J (2021) Study Engagement and Burnout of the PhD Candidates in Medicine: A Person-Centered Approach. Front. Psychol. 12:727746. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.727746

Study engagement and burnout of the PhD candidates in medicine : a person-centered approach

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Author: Tikkanen, Lotta1,2; Pyhältö, Kirsi1,3; Bujacz, Aleksandra4;
Organizations: 1Centre for University Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
2School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, Philosophical Faculty, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland
3Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Behavioral Informatics Team, Health Informatics Centre, Department of Learning, Informatics, Management, and Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
5Department of Learning, Informatics, Management, and Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Frontiers Media, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-02-16


This study focused on exploring individual variations in doctoral candidates’ well-being, in terms of experienced research engagement and burnout by using a person-centered approach. In addition, the associations between well-being profiles and gender, country of origin, study status (full-time or part-time), research group status and drop-out intentions were explored. The participants were 692 PhD candidates in the field of medicine. Latent profile analysis was employed to identify the well-being profiles. Four distinct profiles were identified: high engagement–low burnout, high engagement–moderate burnout, moderate engagement–moderate burnout, and moderate engagement–high burnout. Working in a clinical unit or hospital and working in a research group seemed to be related to increased engagement and reduced risk for suffering burnout, while the intentions to quit one’s doctoral studies were more frequently reported in profiles with moderate levels of engagement. The findings imply that although a significant number of PhD candidates in medicine had an increased risk for developing burnout, for most of the PhD candidates research education is an engaging experience.

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Series: Frontiers in psychology
ISSN: 1664-1078
ISSN-E: 1664-1078
ISSN-L: 1664-1078
Volume: 12
Article number: 727746
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.727746
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © 2021 Tikkanen, Pyhältö, Bujacz and Nieminen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.