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We would like to invite you to participate in an exciting new venture which is being developed by a team from the College of Social Science in partnership with the Doctoral School.

Studying for a PhD is an amazing opportunity, but it can also be a difficult and stressful time. PhD students often report feeling isolated, and uncertain about the quality of their work and the progress they are making. In recent years, we have seen a growing number of mental health problems in PhD students (Levecque et al, 2017) and this is starting to attract attention both in the UK and around the world.

In response to this, at Lincoln we have decided to take positive action by offering a programme to our students that will help them to identify and focus on their strengths, become more self-aware and therefore better equipped to deal with the challenges that the PhD brings.

What are you planning to do?

We are planning to run a trial to examine the effects of a Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice programme among Doctoral students.

Mindfulness-Based Skills Practice (MBSP) is an established eight week programme that brings together the practice of mindfulness and the practice of character strengths. It includes discussions, meditations, strengths practices, lecture input and homework exercises. The programme was devised and developed by Ryan Niemiec (2014) and has been used in a variety of populations and settings showing positive effects. It has never previously been used with Doctoral students.

We are incredibly fortunate at Lincoln to have Dr Roger Bretherton, a Clinical Psychologist and qualified practitioner in mindfulness interventions, including MBSP. Roger has been working with Ryan Niemiec and the MBSP programme for a number of years and has now trained Rebecca Park (PhD student) in the delivery of MBSP.

Rebecca will take the lead on delivering the MBSP programme to doctoral students at the University of Lincoln under the supervision of Dr Bretherton. At the beginning, end and six weeks after the programme has been completed, all participants will be asked to complete a series of validated questionnaires to assess the effectiveness of the programme for those involved.

How do I find out more?

If you are interested in taking part in the study, we would like to invite you to an information event where we will tell you more about the programme and give you an opportunity to try out some of the activities that you would be participating in.

The next information event is;

11th April, 11.30 am until 1.30 pm  BOOK HERE

If you would like to come along to the information event, please click the links above, if you cannot make the event but would still like to find out more about the project, contact

Levecque, K., Anseel, F., De Beuckelaer, A. D., Van der Heyden, J. & Gisle, L. (2017) Work organisation and mental health problems in PhD students. Research Policy. 46, 868-879

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