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Wellbeing and work-life merge in Australian and UK academics

Fetherston, C., Fetherston, A., Batt, S., Sully, M. and Wei, R. (2020) Wellbeing and work-life merge in Australian and UK academics. Studies in Higher Education .

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Academic work environments are becoming progressively more digitalised and focused on performativity and commodification, increasing the potential to force an unwanted merge of the boundary between work and non-work domains. This study aimed to explore academic wellbeing and the role played by factors related to work-life merge. Data were collected from a cross sectional survey of 605 Australian and 313 UK academics, who were found to have a short version Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Score of 21.47 ± 4.11 and 21.35 ± 4 respectively, which is significantly below population norms. Australian men’s scores were significantly lower than Australian women (20.7 ± .31, p = .007). Job strain was evidenced by excessive work hours, high levels of intrusive work-related thoughts, reduced physical activity and a self-perception that work-life merge adversely affected psychological and physical health, and mostly only occurred to meet work demands. Action by government education and university leaders is urgently required to identify policy and management practices that are contributing to this ongoing health concern. The establishment of national and university based advisory groups and consideration of a data warehouse to curate a public dataset on the wellbeing of staff within universities could assist in ensuring the outcomes of any action are continually assessed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Nursing
Publisher: Carfax Publishing Ltd.
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