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Feeling Healthy? A Survey of Physical and Psychological Wellbeing of Students from Seven Universities in the UK
Faculty of of Applied Sciences, University of Gloucestershire, Oxstalls Campus, Oxstalls Lane, Gloucester GL2 9HW, UK
Unit for Health Promotion Research, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Niels Bohrs Vej 9-10, 6700 Esbjerg, Denmark
School of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, Wales, UK
Business School, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 2RH, UK
School of Health & Social Care, Oxford Brookes University, Marston, Oxford OX3 0FL, UK
School of Science, Society and Management, Bath Spa University, Newton St. Loe, Bath BA2 9BN, UK
Institute of Nursing Research, School of Nursing, University of Ulster, Londonderry, Northern Ireland BT48 7Jl, UK
Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Chester, Castle Drive, Chester CH1 4BJ, UK
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 March 2011; in revised form: 31 March 2011 / Accepted: 1 April 2011 / Published: 27 April 2011
Abstract: University students’ physical and psychological health and wellbeing are important and comprise many variables. This study assessed perceived health status in addition to a range of physical and psychological wellbeing indicators of 3,706 undergraduate students from seven universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We compared differences in these variables across males and females, and across the participating universities. The data was collected in 2007–2008. A self-administered questionnaire assessed socio-demographic information (e.g., gender, age), self-reported physical and psychological health data, as well as questions on health awareness, health service use, social support, burdens and stressors and university study related questions. While females generally reported more health problems and psychological burdens, male students felt that they received/had fewer persons to depend on for social support. The comparisons of health and wellbeing variables across the different universities suggested some evidence of ‘clustering’ of the variables under study, whereby favourable situations would be exhibited by a cluster of the variables that is encountered at some universities; and conversely, the clustering of less favourable variables as exhibited at other universities. We conclude that the level of health complaints and psychological problems/burdens is relatively high and calls for increased awareness of university administrators, leaders and policy makers to the health and well-being needs of their students. The observed clustering effects also indicated the need for local (university-specific) health and wellbeing profiles as basis and guidance for relevant health promotion programmes at universities.
Keywords: university students; physical health; psychological wellbeing; social support; psychosomatic; burdens and stressors; gender
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El Ansari, W.; Stock, C.; Snelgrove, T.U.S.H.G.S.; Hu, X.; Parke, S.; Davies, S.; John, J.; Adetunji, H.; Stoate, M.; Deeny, P.; Phillips, C.; Mabhala, A. Feeling Healthy? A Survey of Physical and Psychological Wellbeing of Students from Seven Universities in the UK. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 1308-1323.
El Ansari W, Stock C, Snelgrove TUSHGS, Hu X, Parke S, Davies S, John J, Adetunji H, Stoate M, Deeny P, Phillips C, Mabhala A. Feeling Healthy? A Survey of Physical and Psychological Wellbeing of Students from Seven Universities in the UK. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2011; 8(5):1308-1323.
El Ansari, Walid; Stock, Christiane; Snelgrove, The UK Student Health Group: Sherrill; Hu, Xiaoling; Parke, Sian; Davies, Shân; John, Jill; Adetunji, Hamed; Stoate, Mary; Deeny, Pat; Phillips, Ceri; Mabhala, Andi. 2011. "Feeling Healthy? A Survey of Physical and Psychological Wellbeing of Students from Seven Universities in the UK." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 8, no. 5: 1308-1323.