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Well-Being of Early-Career Researchers: Insights from a Swedish Survey

Journal article
Authors C. Signoret
E. Ng
S. Da Silva
A. Tack
U. Voss
Helga Lidö Höifödt
C. Patthey
M. Ericsson
J. Hadrevi
C. Balachandran
Published in Higher Education Policy
Volume 32
Issue 2
Pages 273-296
ISSN 0952-8733
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 273-296
Language en
Keywords early-career researchers, survey, academia, well-being, work situation, Sweden, academic careers, stress, burnout, future, states, work, Education & Educational Research
Subject categories Environmental Health and Occupational Health


Several studies have documented the importance of optimal work situation and the general well-being of early-career researchers (ECRs) for enhancing the academic performance of universities. Yet, most studies focused on specific categories of ECRs, or on specific academic disciplines as well as on specific outcomes. With this study, we recognize the need for a broader sample encompassing different categories of ECRs across academic disciplines. In a national survey of Swedish universities, the National Junior Faculty of Sweden (NJF) collected data from ECRs in order to study the influence of work situation and well-being on perceived scientific environment. We observed that work situation and well-being are interdependent and jointly influence each other in shaping the conditions for ideal scientific environment. Importantly, we employ structural equation model (SEM) analysis to account for the endogenous relationship between work situation and personal well-being in predicting perceived scientific environment. Results from SEM indicate that support from the university, work time management, job clarity, contract length and quality of life satisfaction were related to the perceivedpossibility of conducting the best science. Our research also highlighted individual differences across demographic factors and contract length in the perceived work situation and the possibility of conducting the best science.

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