At first glance, for those who start out in it the academic environment may seem attractive, but they soon experience the difficulties inherent in this type of career. At the same time, the academic sector is crucial to the social, cultural, and economic development of any country. Given this important role, it is fundamental for the decision makers to guarantee the best return on investment made into this sector. The good health of workers has important implications for the quality of their lives since it affects their level of productivity at work, and it is especially relevant for research programmes, where most of the work is intellectual. In the present research, we have analysed the health of workers without tenure in the Italian academic environment, i.e. PhD students and short term contract researchers, in order to understand which factors have the most relevant impact on their state of health. 699 participants (398 females, 301 males) completed an online questionnaire that included both ad hoc Likert-scales and open-ended questions. Our results, elaborated through Structural Equation Modelling and Text Mining techniques, show how researchers experience high levels of anxiety both from the characteristics of the academic environment and from the career advancement system. Specifically, both job-related factors (i.e. perception of fairness, professional growth, and safety perception) and relational factors (i.e. relationships with supervisors and colleagues) predict the anxiety of non-tenured researchers. Furthermore, women researchers show a high level of anxiety compared with male researchers. Policy implications of our findings are provided.

How to improve academic well-being: an analysis of the leveraging factors based on the Italian case

Aquino, Antonio
2023-01-01

Abstract

At first glance, for those who start out in it the academic environment may seem attractive, but they soon experience the difficulties inherent in this type of career. At the same time, the academic sector is crucial to the social, cultural, and economic development of any country. Given this important role, it is fundamental for the decision makers to guarantee the best return on investment made into this sector. The good health of workers has important implications for the quality of their lives since it affects their level of productivity at work, and it is especially relevant for research programmes, where most of the work is intellectual. In the present research, we have analysed the health of workers without tenure in the Italian academic environment, i.e. PhD students and short term contract researchers, in order to understand which factors have the most relevant impact on their state of health. 699 participants (398 females, 301 males) completed an online questionnaire that included both ad hoc Likert-scales and open-ended questions. Our results, elaborated through Structural Equation Modelling and Text Mining techniques, show how researchers experience high levels of anxiety both from the characteristics of the academic environment and from the career advancement system. Specifically, both job-related factors (i.e. perception of fairness, professional growth, and safety perception) and relational factors (i.e. relationships with supervisors and colleagues) predict the anxiety of non-tenured researchers. Furthermore, women researchers show a high level of anxiety compared with male researchers. Policy implications of our findings are provided.
2023
Academic policy · Academic well-being · fairness · relationships
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12317/94070
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