This is really cool! Thanks for sharing, Michael :)
The national averages were determined using the same measurement instruments we used, but they did not control for non-respondents the way we did. My intuition is that the national averages are pretty accurate because they had big sample sizes and did not seem to be obviously sampling from a more depressed/anxious segment of the population.
But you can decide for yourself:
In a national sample collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (n = 31,366), 8.75% of people in the United States meet the criteria for moderate to severe depression. When restricting the national sample to only those with a college degree or above (n = 6,660), national rates of moderate or severe depression were much lower than what we found in our graduate student sample: 3.8%
In a national sample (n = 5,030), 5.1% of Americans met the criteria for moderate or severe anxiety on the same measure (Löwe et al., 2008).
We controlled for non-responders by keeping track of how many reminders it took subjects to respond to the survey, and checked to see whether the harder it was to get people to respond predicted their depression or anxiety scores. It did not. We also had such a high response rate (30%) that even if all of our non-respondents felt depression or anxiety at rates equal to national averages (unlikely), the graduate students would still be worse off on average.
We are writing up the paper now! We sampled in 2019 and 2020. We used the PHQ9 to measure to depression and the GAD7 to measure anxiety. Happy to answer any questions if you have :)
In my research I have found Princeton graduate students experience higher rates of moderate to severe depression (21.99%-27.90%) and anxiety (24.53%-27.80%) compared to national averages (8.75% for depression, 5.1% for anxiety). We had over 900 respondents (~30% response rate), and used a difficulty to reach technique to check our results generalize to non-respondents, which most other studies of this kind do not do.As a result, I am very confident PhD students are more depressed and anxious than the general population, and I am very hesitant to recommend doing a PhD.
I think these are really important questions too!
It has been very frustrating sitting in Psychology seminars led by big prestigious professors, listening to them spout absolute nonsense completely unsupported by quantitative analysis. So I feel your pain for sure! Digging up one of my old tweets: Social Psych talk: no error bars, description of stats, or listing size of subject groups. p values displayed as p=0. This is accepted?
I like these a lot! Thanks for sharing :)
This is cool, thanks for sharing! Looks like Lucius Caviola's and Stefan Schubert's research projects are already on your radar ;)
The following list is not ordered.
All this being said: the first three months after childbirth is literally torture for whoever is waking up at night to feed the baby. Plus there is a strong possibility that I and/or my baby would have died if I hadn't given birth in a high quality hospital (we had a prolapsed cord and then a lot of maternal hemorrhaging). So despite all the nice stuff written above, I don't think it's an easy decision to make.
Same. Especially agree that the format of the event needs to be structured so that ideas are not presented as facts, but are instead open to (lots of public) criticism.