The Third Half: A Pilot Study Using Evidence-Based Psychological Strategies to Promote Well-Being among Doctoral Students

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Muro, Anna
Bonilla, Iván
Tejada Gallardo, ClaudiaTejada Gallardo, Claudia - ORCID ID
Jiménez-Villamizar, María Paola
Cladellas, Ramon
Sanz, Antoni
Torregrossa, Miquel
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cc-by (c) Muro et al., 2022
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Over the last few years, various studies have reported decreasing well-being levels among doctoral students, who show a higher risk of suffering from psychological distress than the general population. Accordingly, European policies in higher education encourage well-being promotion programs among doctoral studies to enhance young researchers’ well-being. However, programs using evidence-based practices for well-being promotion are not yet generalised in public universities. The present study describes a pilot experience designed to evaluate the efficacy of a well-being program among doctoral candidates of a public European university, the Autonomous University of Barcelona. 25 doctoral students (67% women) participated in a pre-post study consisting of six sessions of 3 h each and structured by the big five criteria coming from evidence-based practices for well-being promotion: outdoor green spaces exposure, physical activity, gamification, mentoring, positive and coaching psychology techniques. Results showed how participants experienced significant increases in several indicators of emotional well-being and decreased psychological distress after the Third Half program. These positive pilot results encourage further research and future replications to assess the impact of this evidence-based psychological program among the academic community. Results also lead the way towards the creation of healthier academic workplaces by implementing cost-effective interventions that improve researchers’ psychosocial support and their overall well-being.
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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2022, vol. 19, núm. 24, 16905