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Mental Health and Well-Being during Emerging Adulthood

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2023) | Viewed by 16072

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Institute of Psychology, University of Opole, Opole, Poland
Interests: clinical psychology; general psychology; individual differences; measurement in psychology (development, reliability and validity of questionnaires); personality; psychology of behavioral addiction
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Emerging adulthood (between 18 and 25) is one of the most challenging stages of life, situated between adolescence and adulthood in addition to being characterized by self-focus, identity explorations, instability of aims to achieve, and future plans (such as a good education, work, marriage, or parenthood). There are some differences in emerging adulthood within industrialized countries, as well as among the middle-class elite in nonindustrialized countries. In addition, we expect intergenerational differences related to the development of technology and civilization, as well as current crises (e.g., the COVID-19 pandemic, ecological crises, and wars). The purpose of this Special Issue is to collect studies that contribute to recent advances in understanding mental health problems and predictors of the well-being of the emerging adult population. We invite academic societies of various disciplines of social and health sciences, to submit their studies focused on understanding and explaining how dynamic changes in life during emerging adulthood contribute to mental health and well-being. We expect cross-sectional, longitudinal, and review studies relevant to this subject. Potential topics include, but are not limited to, such issues during emerging adulthood as the prevalence and predictors of mental health and well-being; the well-being of university students; the mechanisms of transition to adulthood; facilitators and barriers to positive changes in life; resiliency and growth factors; substance use and addictive behavior versus health-related behavior; perspectives for self-actualization and development; the role of optimism and mindfulness; and diversity in social roles, gender, and sexual identity.

Prof. Dr. Aleksandra Rogowska
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • addictive behavior
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • emerging adulthood
  • gender
  • mental health
  • mindfulness
  • optimism
  • physical health
  • resiliency
  • sexual identity
  • stress
  • substance use
  • university students
  • well-being

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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10 pages, 969 KiB  
Article
Anxiety, Attachment Styles and Life Satisfaction in the Polish LGBTQ+ Community
by Zofia Kardasz, Rafał Gerymski and Arkadiusz Parker
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(14), 6392; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20146392 - 19 Jul 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1989
Abstract
Poland is one of the most discriminatory places in Europe. The political situation, legal policies, and society’s attitude towards people from the LGBTQ+ community in Poland clearly indicate the need to study the mental health and well-being of this group of individuals. Based [...] Read more.
Poland is one of the most discriminatory places in Europe. The political situation, legal policies, and society’s attitude towards people from the LGBTQ+ community in Poland clearly indicate the need to study the mental health and well-being of this group of individuals. Based on Meyer’s minority stress theory, Bowlby’s attachment theory, the Ainsworth attachment framework, Diener’s subjective well-being model, and provided empirical evidence, this study examined the significance of attachment styles and anxiety as predictors of life satisfaction among the Polish LGBTQ+ community. It also explored the differences between LGBTQ+ and heterosexual individuals in the levels of tested variables. A total of 414 participants took part in this study, of whom most study participants were young adults (M = 24.50; SD = 6.94). Of those, 130 participants identified themselves as heterosexual, while 284 declared themselves members of the LGBTQ+ community. The Satisfaction with Life Scale, Plopa’s Attachment Styles Questionnaire, and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory were used. Data demonstrate that anxiety and attachment styles were significant predictors of life satisfaction in the LGBTQ+ community. Moreover, LGBTQ+ individuals had higher non-secure attachment styles and anxiety scores, and lower life satisfaction scores in comparison to heterosexual individuals. The presented study is the first Polish study to test such relationships in the Polish LGBTQ+ community. It draws attention to lower life satisfaction among study participants representing the LGBTQ+ community in comparison to cisgender heterosexual individuals. This indicates that researchers, clinical specialists and practitioners should try to improve the levels of subjective well-being in Polish LGBTQ+ individuals, for example, through psychoeducational and supportive programs. In addition, the presented results highlight the possible important role of attachment styles in the functioning of the presented group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and Well-Being during Emerging Adulthood)
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11 pages, 355 KiB  
Article
Chemsex and Sexual Well-Being in Young Polish Men
by Rafał Gerymski and Wiktoria Magoń
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(12), 6163; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20126163 - 17 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1760
Abstract
Chemsex refers to the use of psychoactive drugs for sexual purposes—before or during sex. This phenomenon mainly affects men, in particular those belonging to the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual, and more diverse individuals) community. From the perspective of the [...] Read more.
Chemsex refers to the use of psychoactive drugs for sexual purposes—before or during sex. This phenomenon mainly affects men, in particular those belonging to the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual, and more diverse individuals) community. From the perspective of the transactional theory of stress, chemsex can be considered a strategy for coping with stress, which is why it is also extremely important to verify its role in functioning outside the sexual sphere. For this reason, this study verified the relationship between the use of chemsex, perceived stress, sexual well-being, and life satisfaction in young Polish men. The study involved 175 men (67 people using chemsex and 108 people in the control group) between 18 and 33 years of age. The Perceived Stress Scale, the Short Scale of Sexual Well-being, the Satisfaction with Life Scale, and the authors’ questionnaire about the use of chemsex were used. It was observed that individuals using chemsex showed a significantly lower level of sexual well-being and satisfaction with life (moderate effects) and a higher level of perceived stress (strong effect) when compared to the control group not using psychoactive substances. Additionally, a positive and moderate relationship was observed between the number of psychoactive substances used and perceived stress in the group of individuals using chemsex. Moreover, the number of substances used and the level of perceived stress were negatively and moderately related to the level of well-being in these individuals. It was also shown that perceived stress was a significant predictor of the number of psychoactive substances used before and during sex and that perceived stress and the number of psychoactive substances used were significant and negative predictors of life satisfaction and sexual well-being, explaining a large portion of their variance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and Well-Being during Emerging Adulthood)
15 pages, 555 KiB  
Article
Experience of Ethnic Discrimination, Anxiety, Perceived Risk of COVID-19, and Social Support among Polish and International Students during the Pandemic
by Anna Bokszczanin, Olga Gladysh, Anna Bronowicka and Marek Palace
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(7), 5236; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20075236 - 23 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2236
Abstract
Background: Our research aimed to assess the experiences of ethnic discrimination among students in Poland (Polish and international) during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also tested the prevalence of anxiety symptoms and their relationship with perceived COVID-19 risk, the severity of discrimination, and social [...] Read more.
Background: Our research aimed to assess the experiences of ethnic discrimination among students in Poland (Polish and international) during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also tested the prevalence of anxiety symptoms and their relationship with perceived COVID-19 risk, the severity of discrimination, and social support. Methods: The data from Polish (n = 481) and international university students (n = 105) were collected online (November–January 2020). Participants completed measures of ethnic discrimination (GEDS), anxiety scale (GAD-7), COVID-19 risk perception index, and perceived social support scale (MSPSS) questionnaires. Results: The results showed that international students reported being much more discriminated than Polish students during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Contrary to our expectation, a higher risk of anxiety disorders (GAD) was observed in 42% of Polish students compared to 31% of international students. The predictors of higher anxiety symptoms among both groups were the perceived risk of COVID-19 and the greater severity of ethnic discrimination. In both groups, the perceived social support had a protective role in anxiety symptomatology. Conclusions: The high prevalence of discrimination, especially among international students, simultaneously with high symptoms of anxiety, requires vigorous action involving preventive measures and psychological support. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and Well-Being during Emerging Adulthood)
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15 pages, 637 KiB  
Article
Community-Based Participatory Research: Partnering with College Students to Develop a Tailored, Wellness-Focused Intervention for University Campuses
by Makenzie L. Barr and Jade McNamara
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(23), 16331; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192316331 - 6 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2267
Abstract
College students face unique challenges with leading healthful lifestyles. Using a community-based participatory research approach, college student research partners at two land-grant universities collected data and developed a tailored intervention to improve the well-being of college students. To inform the design of the [...] Read more.
College students face unique challenges with leading healthful lifestyles. Using a community-based participatory research approach, college student research partners at two land-grant universities collected data and developed a tailored intervention to improve the well-being of college students. To inform the design of the program, college students were trained to conduct a needs assessment that included a campus-wide survey on the health behaviors of college students, environmental audits of health policies and food pantries on campus, and stakeholder interviews with campus health professionals. Outcomes of the needs assessment data highlighted university students ranked their health as “good” but nutrition health as “fair/poor.” Low or very low food security was self-reported by 36.9% of participants and had an overall diet quality score of 47.6 ± 10.1 out of 100. Health professional interview data indicated campuses provide healthful resources to students, but students are not aware those resources exist. Utilizing the needs assessment data previously mentioned, the nominal group technique was then used for student research partners to collaboratively determine the best intervention approaches and develop a wellness program. Student partners identified (1) education, (2) sharing of campus resources, and (3) incentives as important areas of intervention. Using the data collected, the student research partners developed a program titled, The College Cooking Connection, to address health-related quality of life in college students. Using a community-based participatory research approach to program planning, educators and researchers have a greater likelihood of addressing the current needs of the population they are targeting and developing a successful intervention to meet those health concerns. This study aims to partner with young adult university students to understand the college environment and allow the target community to be involved with the development of intervention programs for their campus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and Well-Being during Emerging Adulthood)
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11 pages, 698 KiB  
Article
Musculoskeletal Pain in Undergraduate Students Is Significantly Associated with Psychological Distress and Poor Sleep Quality
by Saad M. Alsaadi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(21), 13929; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192113929 - 26 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2635
Abstract
Musculoskeletal pain (MSKP), psychological distress, and poor sleep quality are common among undergraduate university students. Yet, few studies have assessed the association between MSKP and psychological distress and poor sleep quality. This cross-sectional study was conducted to determine this association among undergraduate students [...] Read more.
Musculoskeletal pain (MSKP), psychological distress, and poor sleep quality are common among undergraduate university students. Yet, few studies have assessed the association between MSKP and psychological distress and poor sleep quality. This cross-sectional study was conducted to determine this association among undergraduate students at a major public university in Saudi Arabia. MSKP was assessed using the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire, psychological distress using the Depression, Anxiety and Stress (DASS-21) questionnaire, and sleep quality using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. A total of 339 undergraduate students from various specialties provided complete responses and were included. The most common site of MSKP in the past 12 months and the past 7 days were neck pain (54.6% and 41.9%, respectively) and low back pain (49.4% and 48.2%, respectively). There was no difference in the prevalence of MSKP across colleges. The reported MSKP in the past 12 months and 7 days were significantly associated with the students’ level of anxiety and stress as well as sleep quality (p < 0.05 for all), while depression was only significantly associated with MSKP in the past 7 days. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and Well-Being during Emerging Adulthood)
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13 pages, 972 KiB  
Article
Validation of the Brief Perceived Positive Lockdown Impact Scale PPLIS-4
by Aleksandra M. Rogowska, Dominika Ochnik, Karolina Chilicka, Iuliia Pavlova and Cezary Kuśnierz
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(20), 13198; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192013198 - 13 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1493
Abstract
Background: Although research showed that positive aspects of the lockdown were perceived during the pandemic, there are no tools to test the positive impact of mandatory social isolation on life. The present study aims to validate a newly developed, brief, four-item perceived positive [...] Read more.
Background: Although research showed that positive aspects of the lockdown were perceived during the pandemic, there are no tools to test the positive impact of mandatory social isolation on life. The present study aims to validate a newly developed, brief, four-item perceived positive lockdown impact scale (PPLIS-4). Methods: A cross-sectional online survey study was formed among 4370 adults in three samples: Sample 1 consisted of university students from Poland and Ukraine, Sample 2 consisted of Polish university students under 26 (emerging adults), and Sample 3 consisted of Polish and Ukrainian adults above 25 (non-emerging adults). The standardized questionnaire was used for criterion validity to measure life satisfaction (SWLS), perceived stress (PSS-10), anxiety (GAD-7), and depression (PHQ-9). Results: The exploratory factor analysis (EFA) showed a one-factor solution in Sample 1 in Polish and Ukrainian university students. The confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and confirmatory composite analysis (CCA) showed the one-factor structure appropriate for the PPLIS-4 among emerging and non-emerging adults. Criterion validity was also confirmed since the PPLIS-4 was positively related to the SWLS and negatively related to stress, anxiety, and depression. Conclusions: The PPLIS-4 is a short but valid questionnaire to assess the positive aspects of lockdown. The PPLIS-4 can be used during the COVID-19 pandemic to measure some positive effects of changes in lifestyle as an aspect of resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and Well-Being during Emerging Adulthood)
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Review

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12 pages, 526 KiB  
Review
Remote Interventions to Support Students’ Psychological Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Narrative Review of Recent Approaches
by Anna Rutkowska
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(21), 14040; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192114040 - 28 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2099
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected students’ mental health, and it is important to implement mental health management strategies. The purpose of this study was to present current findings on the implementation of remote mental health interventions in students during the pandemic. The [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected students’ mental health, and it is important to implement mental health management strategies. The purpose of this study was to present current findings on the implementation of remote mental health interventions in students during the pandemic. The PubMed and Web of Science electronic databases were searched and, from a total of 174 articles, 106 records were excluded according to the inclusion criteria and 23 were assessed as full texts. After the full-text screening, 12 studies were included in the review. The included publications were randomized clinical trials focused on remote mental support interventions among students from 10 countries, representing both genders, and were in the average age range of 17–55 years with an overall number of 892 participants. The included studies covered the effectiveness of strictly psychotherapeutic programs, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), as well as other techniques such as mindfulness, laughter therapy, the brain wave modulation technique (BWM-T), and physical activity-based interventions. This narrative review provides an overview of studies with a wide range of types of remote mental health support interventions. Each of the forms of intervention analyzed in this review resulted in positive changes in students’ mental health, which indicates hope for widespread help via various forms of intervention implemented remotely. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and Well-Being during Emerging Adulthood)
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