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University Students' Health and Academic Achievement

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 122822

Special Issue Editors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent studies have revealed that the percentage of the student population with mental health problems is higher than that of the general population, and this significantly correlates with students’ academic performance and professional competence, as well as with their overall health and wellbeing. The frequency, manifestation, and course of mental and behavioral problems in university students seem to be determined by a variety of factors, including stressful life events, sociodemographic factors, academic workload, etc. Some students are more likely to develop a mental disorder even in the absence of stressful life events, because the most critical period for some disorders is found in late adolescence and early adulthood. Additionally, more and more students are entering universities with pre-existing mental disorders that remain undiagnosed or unattended.

Despite these facts, universities have been shown to lack efficient mechanisms and the overall capacity to identify and support vulnerable students early. Many universities have been criticized for placing emphasis on a sterile scientific specialization, while neglecting the individual vulnerabilities of their students and their level of preparedness to meet academic demands. It is also widely acknowledged that students’ resilience is not promoted by the curricula of many disciplines, while effective communication, empathy, and closeness are missing from the student–teacher relationship. This Special Issue welcomes papers that investigate individual and environmental factors with significant effects on students’ health, mental health, and well-being, which could improve our understanding of the phenomenon and its particular characteristics. Other manuscripts that aim to improve prevention and advance treatment of health and mental health problems in university settings are most welcome.

Dr. Maria Papadakaki
Dr. Joannes Chliaoutakis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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

  • university
  • students
  • mental health
  • behavioral problems
  • academic performance
  • prevention
  • empathy
  • student–teacher relationship
  • treatment
  • educational policies

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Published Papers (24 papers)

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19 pages, 2728 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Expressive Arts Therapy on the Resilience of University Students in COVID-19: A Network Analysis Approach
by Yue Li and Jun Peng
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7658; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137658 - 23 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2829
Abstract
As an alternative to traditional verbal counselling, expressive arts therapy has been shown to be an effective method of mental health care, particularly when dealing with stressful public interactions, such as those associated with COVID-19. However, few studies have been conducted to determine [...] Read more.
As an alternative to traditional verbal counselling, expressive arts therapy has been shown to be an effective method of mental health care, particularly when dealing with stressful public interactions, such as those associated with COVID-19. However, few studies have been conducted to determine the efficacy of expressive arts therapy on the resilience of psychologically exposed university students during COVID-19. Furthermore, since network analysis appears to be a popular approach in psychological research, it has not been used in recent intervention studies for resilience. As a result, the current study utilized a network analysis approach to determine the efficacy of expressive arts therapy on the resilience of university students during the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 263 students in a comprehensive university in China were selected for the therapy group between March and November 2021. In a pre-post design, students’ resilience was assessed using the Resiliency Scale for University Students (RSUS). The extended Bayesian information criteria (EBIC) and graphical LASSO were used to estimate and define paired resilience networks, and the strength, betweenness, and closeness indices were utilized to determine the centrality of the six facets of resilience. Additionally, we verified the stability and accuracy. It was discovered that significant differences appeared between the paired networks before and after expressive arts therapy. Facets of self-efficacy, self-acceptance and problem-solving in resilience were notably improved after the therapy, with the variable of emotional stability sustained at the mean level. Meanwhile, the network analysis has highlighted the central variable of self-efficacy in the pre-intervention and support from friends in the post-intervention. The connectivity among the components of problem solving, support from friends, and support from family was enhanced, with support from friends playing the role of hub nod in the following network. By utilizing a network analytic approach, expressive arts therapy can be more targeted in intervening in resilience mechanisms. As a proxy for efficacious problem-solving, intervention should be calibrated to the cultivation of social support networks, especially in the support from friends. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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12 pages, 357 KiB  
Article
Academic Achievements, Satisfaction with Studies and Risky Behaviours among First-Year Students of Kaunas (Lithuania) Universities, 2000–2017
by Janina Petkeviciene, Vilma Kriaucioniene and Asta Raskiliene
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7616; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137616 - 22 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1416
Abstract
Risky behaviours are prevalent among university students and may affect academic achievements. This study aimed to evaluate the associations between academic achievements, satisfaction with studies and risky behaviours among first-year students of Kaunas (Lithuania) universities. Three cross-sectional surveys were conducted in 2000, 2010, [...] Read more.
Risky behaviours are prevalent among university students and may affect academic achievements. This study aimed to evaluate the associations between academic achievements, satisfaction with studies and risky behaviours among first-year students of Kaunas (Lithuania) universities. Three cross-sectional surveys were conducted in 2000, 2010, and 2017. The self-administered questionnaires were filled in during lectures and assessed frequency and amount of alcohol consumption, drinking problems (CAGE test), smoking and drug use frequency, and academic achievements. The associations between risky behaviours and academic achievements were analysed using multivariable logistic regression analysis. Altogether 3325 students (1341 men and 1984 women) aged 20.0 (1.5) years participated in the survey. The proportion of students who consumed alcohol at least once a week and drank 11 or more standard alcoholic units (SAU) a week decreased. Every fifth student reported a drinking problem. Daily smoking prevalence declined, and drug use increased among male students. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that frequent alcohol consumption and problem drinking were associated with low importance of good grades. Students who rated their academic performance below average and were dissatisfied with studies were more likely to consume ≥11 SAU a week. Daily smoking was more common among students who reported low importance of good grades and academic performance below average. A higher prevalence of drug use was found only in male students who declared low importance of good grades. Health promoting interventions at the individual and student community level are required to reduce the prevalence of substance use and improve the academic achievements of students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
17 pages, 884 KiB  
Article
Comparing Mental Health, Wellbeing and Flourishing in Undergraduate Students Pre- and during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Marien Alet Graham and Irma Eloff
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7438; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127438 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2419
Abstract
There has been a preponderance of studies on student mental health, wellbeing and flourishing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Few studies have compared data on student mental health and wellbeing before and during the pandemic. The purpose of the current study was to compare [...] Read more.
There has been a preponderance of studies on student mental health, wellbeing and flourishing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Few studies have compared data on student mental health and wellbeing before and during the pandemic. The purpose of the current study was to compare mental health and wellbeing in undergraduate students before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Survey research was conducted with three groups of undergraduate students (n = 905) from diverse scientific fields at a large, urban university in South Africa. Data was collected by means of electronic surveys, combining full-scale items from three instruments, the Mental Health Continuum Short Form, the Flourishing Scale and the Fragility of Happiness Scale. Data was analysed by the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), the Analysis of Moment Structures (AMOS) and R software. The results indicate that while the mental health and wellbeing of students declined during the pandemic concerning their perceived ability to contribute to society, having supportive and rewarding social relationships and them being engaged and interested in their daily activities, it also improved in terms of their perceived ability to manage their daily lives (environmental mastery), being challenged to grow (personal growth) and in terms of their views that society was becoming better (social growth/actualisation). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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10 pages, 336 KiB  
Article
Social Support and Post-Injury Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms among College-Student Athletes
by Lindsay Sullivan, Kele Ding, Heather Tattersall, Sean Brown and Jingzhen Yang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6458; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116458 - 26 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4155
Abstract
Social support can positively influence both physical and psychological recovery from sport-related injury. However, few studies have examined the influence of the quantity, quality, and timing of social support on athletes’ psychological health following injury. This study examined the effects of changes in [...] Read more.
Social support can positively influence both physical and psychological recovery from sport-related injury. However, few studies have examined the influence of the quantity, quality, and timing of social support on athletes’ psychological health following injury. This study examined the effects of changes in social support on post-injury depressive and anxiety symptoms among college-student athletes. We conducted a prospective cohort study among Division I college-student athletes. Participants completed surveys at baseline and at multiple time points post-injury until return to play (RTP). A total of 597 injuries sustained by 389 student athletes (n = 400 (67.0%) males; n = 238 (39.9%) football players; n = 281 (47.1%) freshman) were included. The overall amount of social support increased from baseline to 1-week post-injury (p < 0.05) and then remained unchanged until RTP. The overall satisfaction with the support received increased from baseline to 1-week post-injury (p < 0.05) but decreased (p < 0.05) from 1-week post-injury to RTP. Increases in satisfaction with the support received were associated with decreases in post-injury depressive (β = −0.404), p < 0.0001) and anxiety symptoms (β = −0.406), p < 0.0001). Interventions involving social support may help hasten college-student athletes’ psychological recovery from injury. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
14 pages, 939 KiB  
Article
Psychosocial Factors as Mediator to Food Security Status and Academic Performance among University Students
by Nor Syaza Sofiah Ahmad, Norhasmah Sulaiman and Mohamad Fazli Sabri
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5535; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095535 - 03 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2741
Abstract
The interrelation between food security, academic performance, and psychosocial factors remains unclear. This study aims to identify psychosocial factors as mediators of food security status and academic performance among university students at one of Malaysia’s public universities. Respondents included 663 bachelor’s degree students [...] Read more.
The interrelation between food security, academic performance, and psychosocial factors remains unclear. This study aims to identify psychosocial factors as mediators of food security status and academic performance among university students at one of Malaysia’s public universities. Respondents included 663 bachelor’s degree students from seven randomly selected programmes at the university. Data on demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, food security status (US Adult Food Security Survey Module, FSSM), psychosocial factors (DASS-21), and academic performance were collected using an online survey. The SPSS PROCESS macro was used to perform mediation analysis. The result (β = −0.0182, p < 0.001) indicates that food insecurity is associated with poor academic performance. As well as that, an increase in anxiety (β = −0.0027, p < 0.05) and depression (β = −0.0025, p < 0.05) was significant associated with a decrease in academic performance. Furthermore, anxiety and depression serve as significant mediators in the relationship between food security and academic performance. Alleviating food insecurity is not only a way to improve academic performance; it can also improve academic performance by reducing anxiety and depression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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17 pages, 1211 KiB  
Article
Problematic Social Media Use and Depressive Outcomes among College Students in China: Observational and Experimental Findings
by Yonghua Chen, Xi Liu, Dorothy T. Chiu, Ying Li, Baibing Mi, Yue Zhang, Lu Ma and Hong Yan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 4937; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19094937 - 19 Apr 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3588
Abstract
Aims: Problematic social media use is increasing in China and could be a risk factor for depression. We investigated cross-sectional associations between problematic social media use and depressive outcomes among Chinese college students with potential mediation by perceived social support, social media violence, [...] Read more.
Aims: Problematic social media use is increasing in China and could be a risk factor for depression. We investigated cross-sectional associations between problematic social media use and depressive outcomes among Chinese college students with potential mediation by perceived social support, social media violence, and loneliness. Thereafter, we evaluated the effectiveness of a one-month group counseling intervention in reducing depressive symptoms related to social media addiction. Methods: Depressive symptoms, social media addiction, perceived social support, social media violence, and loneliness were self-reported among 21,000 college students in Shaanxi province, China. A randomized controlled trial was designed based on the results of the observational study and Satir Transformational Systemic Therapy (STST) among 60 college students assigned to intervention (N = 30) or control/no treatment (N = 30). Self-administered surveys were completed at baseline (T1), at the end of the 1-month intervention (T2), and at 2-month follow-up post-intervention (T3). Results: After controlling for relevant covariates, more problematic social media use was associated with more depressive symptoms (β = 0.18, p < 0.001) and depression (OR = 1.08, 95% CI: 1.075, 1.092). Multiple mediation analyses found that perceived social support, social media violence, and loneliness significantly mediated associations between problematic social media use and depressive symptoms (model fit: RMSEA = 0.065, GFI = 0.984, CFI = 0.982). Bootstrapping revealed significant indirect effects of problematic social media use on depressive symptoms through the mediators named above (0.143, 95% CI: 0.133, 0.156). The subsequently informed intervention significantly reduced depressive symptoms at T2 (mean difference: −12.70, 95% CI: −16.64, −8.76, p < 0.001) and at T3 (mean difference: −8.70, 95% CI: −12.60, −4.80, p < 0.001), as well as levels of social media addiction, perceived social support, social media violence, and loneliness. Conclusions: Problematic social media use is a risk factor for depressive outcomes among Chinese college students, and perceived social support, social media violence, and loneliness mediate this association. STST-based group counseling may reduce depressive symptoms related to high social media usage in this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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12 pages, 362 KiB  
Article
Association of Health and Psychological Factors with Academic Achievement and Non-Verbal Intelligence in University Students with Low Academic Performance: The Influence of Sex
by Aniel Jessica Leticia Brambila-Tapia, Aris Judit Miranda-Lavastida, Nancy Araceli Vázquez-Sánchez, Nancy Lizbeth Franco-López, Martha Catalina Pérez-González, Gonzalo Nava-Bustos, Francisco José Gutiérrez-Rodríguez and Francisco Fabián Mora-Moreno
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(8), 4804; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19084804 - 15 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1642
Abstract
Academic achievement, measured with the grade point average (GPA), is a stable characteristic that has been associated with many sociodemographic and psychological variables; however, the relation of these variables with GPA has not been totally elucidated. The objective of this study was to [...] Read more.
Academic achievement, measured with the grade point average (GPA), is a stable characteristic that has been associated with many sociodemographic and psychological variables; however, the relation of these variables with GPA has not been totally elucidated. The objective of this study was to perform an association of health, psychological and personal variables with GPA and non-verbal intelligence in low-academic performance population according to sex. We invited health sciences university students who had failed the same subject twice to complete a set of sociodemographic and psychological variables and a non-verbal intelligence test. The GPA, admission exam test and preparatory GPA were obtained. We included 124 students, and found that GPA was associated with non-verbal intelligence in women but not in men; in whom, having a job and having a romantic partner, were more correlated. In women, positive relations with others, emotion perception and weekly physical activity hours were marginally correlated with GPA; while in men, emotion regulation and self-motivation had a tendency of correlation with GPA. In addition, we found that non-verbal intelligence was associated somatization and the number of diseases in women. Academic achievement is regulated by different variables in each sex; therefore, intervention programs addressed by sex are needed to increase it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
21 pages, 1162 KiB  
Article
Perspective of Teachers and Students towards the Education Process during COVID-19 in Romanian Universities
by Andreea Barbu, Mirona Ana Maria Popescu and Georgiana Moiceanu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3409; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063409 - 14 Mar 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2549
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has created important changes in all areas, highlighting many vulnerabilities, but also opportunities based on the use of technology. This paper aims to provide an overview of the online educational process from two perspectives—that of students and that of professors [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created important changes in all areas, highlighting many vulnerabilities, but also opportunities based on the use of technology. This paper aims to provide an overview of the online educational process from two perspectives—that of students and that of professors from Romanian universities. Data were collected from 844 students from Romanian universities disregarding the area of study. To achieve the main goal of this paper, both qualitative (in-depth interviews) and quantitative methods (surveys) were used, the data being processed using the SPSS Statistical software. The results of this paper highlight the discrepancy between the perspectives of the two parties directly involved in the university educational process. The study shows that the pandemic forced both stakeholders to work harder than before, which negatively affected the way the educational process unfolded, the pleasure of the teaching/learning process, the level of enthusiasm, and sometimes even the academic results. The final conclusions of this paper also highlight the need to make financial investments for the acquisition of licenses to create virtual animations or simulations, as well as for training teachers in their use. Research also indicates that to maintain students’ attention in class, especially online, teachers should use new teaching strategies, such as the use of debates and brainstorming sessions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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14 pages, 688 KiB  
Article
Physical Self-Concept and Physical Activity Levels in University Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cluster Analysis
by Daniel Duclos-Bastías, Frano Giakoni-Ramírez and Daniel Martínez-Cevallos
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2850; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052850 - 01 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1887
Abstract
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the physical activity (PA) levels of university students declined as a result of confinement. The aim of the study was to analyse the segmentation of university students according to physical self-concept ratings and to determine the differences between each [...] Read more.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the physical activity (PA) levels of university students declined as a result of confinement. The aim of the study was to analyse the segmentation of university students according to physical self-concept ratings and to determine the differences between each cluster during the pandemic. The sample consisted of 492 students aged 18–31 years, 36.8% male and 63.2% female, who were administered the PSDQ-S and IPAQ instruments. The data collected were analysed with SPSS software, from which descriptive statistics, a cluster analysis from the PSDQ-S, was obtained. The IPAQ and socio-demographic variables were used to characterise the groups. Finally, a non-hierarchical K-means analysis was performed to establish the clusters. The results reported three different group profiles of students. Significant differences were found in all self-concept variables analysed, with the exception of some items. In relation to PA level, it could be established that the Positive Physical Self-Concept group had the highest PA level and was composed of 52.1% females and 34.4% males, showing a high physical self-concept, whereas, in the Medium-Physical Self-Concept and Negative-Physical Self-Concept groups, females were predominant in number. They were also the least physically active groups and had a low physical self-concept. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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17 pages, 3132 KiB  
Article
Neural Mechanisms of Subliminal Mentor-Student Relationship Stimuli Processing: An ERP Study
by Yang Wu, Na Luo and Yan Zhang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2760; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052760 - 27 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1721
Abstract
In educational contexts, mentorship roles often complicate the mentor-student relationship because mentors act not only as the closest academic ally of graduate students but also their program supervisors who can affect their timely graduation. This study examines how graduate students react to their [...] Read more.
In educational contexts, mentorship roles often complicate the mentor-student relationship because mentors act not only as the closest academic ally of graduate students but also their program supervisors who can affect their timely graduation. This study examines how graduate students react to their mentors’ names when subliminally presented. A total of 63 graduate students (31 male; Mean Age = 23.450) were asked to perform an irrelevant color judgment task of valenced words (positive vs. negative relationship words) after a subliminal presentation of three different types of names (i.e., mentors, authorities, and friends). Results show that mentor and friend names elicit a greater P2 peak than authority names, whereas mentor names evoke a reduced N2 and P3 amplitude than friend and authority names. In addition, participants with a history of abusive supervision tend to have an overall decline in P2 amplitude. These event-related potential (ERP) findings suggest that mentors are perceived by students as familiar while attention-inducing figures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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11 pages, 346 KiB  
Article
Alcohol Use and Gambling Associated with Impulsivity among a Swedish University Sample
by David Forsström, Alexander Rozental and Kristina Sundqvist
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2436; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042436 - 20 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1754
Abstract
Excessive alcohol use and gambling can have negative consequences. Across countries, the risk of excessive alcohol use is more common in university populations than in the general population. However, few studies have investigated the prevalence of both alcohol use and gambling in this [...] Read more.
Excessive alcohol use and gambling can have negative consequences. Across countries, the risk of excessive alcohol use is more common in university populations than in the general population. However, few studies have investigated the prevalence of both alcohol use and gambling in this group. This study explores these behaviours in a Swedish university setting. In addition, this study investigates how impulsivity affects alcohol use and gambling. In total, 794 Swedish students answered an online survey. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics to determine prevalence, and multinomial logistic regression was used to determine the contribution of impulsivity, age, and sex to alcohol use and gambling. Compared to the Swedish national prevalence, the prevalence was higher for excessive alcohol use, but the prevalence of gambling was at the same level or lower. High levels of impulsivity and male sex increased the risk of excessive alcohol use, while older age lowered the risk of excessive alcohol use and gambling. The results indicate that primarily young men could benefit from primary prevention in a university setting. Also, screening for impulsivity in men might be one way to identify risk groups in a university population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
16 pages, 374 KiB  
Article
Perceived Knowledge and Attitudes of Faculty Members towards Inclusive Education for Students with Disabilities: Evidence from a Greek University
by Maria Papadakaki, Anastasia Maraki, Nikolaos Bitsakos and Joannes Chliaoutakis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2151; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042151 - 14 Feb 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3131
Abstract
The current paper aimed at investigating factors affecting the perceptions and attitudes of faculty members towards inclusive education for students with disabilities in a Greek University. A questionnaire, based on the “Expanding Cultural Awareness of Exceptional Learners-ExCEL” was distributed online to 311 faculty [...] Read more.
The current paper aimed at investigating factors affecting the perceptions and attitudes of faculty members towards inclusive education for students with disabilities in a Greek University. A questionnaire, based on the “Expanding Cultural Awareness of Exceptional Learners-ExCEL” was distributed online to 311 faculty members, during the first semester of 2020. The questionnaire explored participants’ sociodemographic and academic background, prior training and personal experience with disability, perceived knowledge, beliefs and attitudes towards inclusive education practices. A total of 80 questionnaires were completed (males 56.3%; aged 41–50 years 43.7%; working experience > 16 years 52.4%; prior training on disability 77.5%). Factor analysis identified four constructs relevant to: (a) perceived knowledge regarding the legal framework (“Perceived Knowledge”), (b) intention towards the provision of general accommodations in class (“Help in Class”), (c) intention towards resource provision (“Material Offer”), and (d) beliefs about the provision of accommodations to students with disabilities (“Negative Attitude”). Gender, faculty subject and prior training on disability were shown to affect the participants’ “Perceived Knowledge”, while working position was shown to affect “Material Offer”. Age, working experience, and personal experience with disability did not reveal any significant effect. More research is needed to investigate the attitudinal and practical barriers of faculty members towards meeting students’ educational needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
8 pages, 601 KiB  
Article
Academic Performance during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Relationship with Demographic Factors and Alcohol Consumption in College Students
by Julio César Vargas-Ramos, Claudia Lerma, Rebeca María Elena Guzmán-Saldaña, Abel Lerma, Lilian Elizabeth Bosques-Brugada and Claudia Margarita González-Fragoso
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010365 - 30 Dec 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 19816
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many changes in the education sector worldwide, and school curricula have had to adapt to a non-face-to-face modality. However, international studies have concluded that this modality has affected the academic performance of students. The present study aimed to [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many changes in the education sector worldwide, and school curricula have had to adapt to a non-face-to-face modality. However, international studies have concluded that this modality has affected the academic performance of students. The present study aimed to compare the academic performance of a sample of college students from before the start of quarantine with their current performance, and to test whether various demographic factors influenced these changes in conjunction with alcohol consumption. With a non-experimental, comparative and longitudinal design, we applied an ad hoc questionnaire, in conjunction with the AUDIT questionnaire, in a sample of college students (n = 341), and we also obtained data of academic average and failed subjects. The demographic factors that influenced academic performance were sex (p < 0.01), age (p < 0.01) and alcohol consumption (p = 0.001). Most students showed an improvement in their academic average during the quarantine period. Women without failed subjects and low-risk alcohol consumption obtained a better average in this period. In conclusion sex, age and alcohol consumption level were factors associated with academic performance during the quarantine period due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and women had a higher academic average than men did. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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15 pages, 1521 KiB  
Article
Validation of the Romanian Version of the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire (TEQ) among Undergraduate Medical Students
by Sorin Ursoniu, Costela Lacrimioara Serban, Catalina Giurgi-Oncu, Ioana Alexandra Rivis, Adina Bucur, Ana-Cristina Bredicean and Ion Papava
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(24), 12871; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182412871 - 07 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2510
Abstract
Medical professionals require adequate abilities to identify others’ emotions and express personal emotions. We aimed to determine the validity and reliability of an empathy measuring tool in medical students for this study. We employed Spreng’s Toronto Empathy Questionnaire (TEQ) as a starting point [...] Read more.
Medical professionals require adequate abilities to identify others’ emotions and express personal emotions. We aimed to determine the validity and reliability of an empathy measuring tool in medical students for this study. We employed Spreng’s Toronto Empathy Questionnaire (TEQ) as a starting point for this validation. The process was performed in several steps, including an English-Romanian-English translation and a focus group meeting to establish each question’s degree of understandability and usability, with minor improvements of wording in each step. We checked internal and external consistency in a pilot group (n = 67). For construct and convergent validity, we used a sample of 649 students. The overall internal and external reliability performed well, with Cronbach’s alpha = 0.727 and respective ICC = 0.776. The principal component analysis resulted in 3 components: prosocial helping behavior, inappropriate sensitivity, dismissive attitude. Component 1 includes positively worded questions, and components 2 and 3 include negatively worded questions. Women had significantly higher scores than men in convergent validity, but we did not highlight any differences for other demographic factors. The Romanian version of the TEQ is a reliable and valid tool to measure empathy among undergraduate medical students that may be further used in subsequent research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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14 pages, 678 KiB  
Article
When in Doubt … Career Indecision, Mental Wellbeing, and Consultation-Seeking Behaviour—A Qualitative Interview Study among Students and Counsellors
by Katherina Heinrichs, Victoria Hermülheim, Laura Pilz González and Adrian Loerbroks
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12604; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312604 - 30 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2677
Abstract
University dropout is often preceded by a phase of doubt whether to continue studying, either in general or just the given subject. Mental health problems might be interrelated with this phase of doubt. Counselling services at German universities could provide help, but do [...] Read more.
University dropout is often preceded by a phase of doubt whether to continue studying, either in general or just the given subject. Mental health problems might be interrelated with this phase of doubt. Counselling services at German universities could provide help, but do not seem to reach students in need. To explore the phase of doubt and possible (inter-)relationships with mental wellbeing among university students in Germany as well as their consultation-seeking behaviour, a qualitative interview study was conducted (2017–2018). Participants were students casting doubts on their studies (n = 14) and counsellors (n = 16) working with this target group. Examples of reasons for doubts were insufficient information, unfulfilled expectations concerning the subject, subjectively poor study conditions, performance problems, and lacking future perspectives. Mental health problems were subjectively intertwined with doubts, considered as both cause and effect. Counselling services were evaluated as hardly helpful by students and as being in need of improvement by counsellors. Suggestions as how to improve such services comprise a more specific and proactive way to approach students. By considering the phase of doubt before dropout, German universities can improve their support services to be more responsive to students and, thus, prevent dropout and mental health problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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16 pages, 973 KiB  
Article
“Medical Student Syndrome”—A Myth or a Real Disease Entity? Cross-Sectional Study of Medical Students of the Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland
by Katarzyna Szczurek, Natalia Furgał, Dawid Szczepanek, Rashid Zaman, Krzysztof Krysta and Marek Krzystanek
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9884; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189884 - 19 Sep 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 5530
Abstract
The description of Medical Student Syndrome is based on the assumption that inexperienced medical students are prone to develop a pathological fear of medical conditions they are taught about. The aim of this study is to examine the sample of students (medical and [...] Read more.
The description of Medical Student Syndrome is based on the assumption that inexperienced medical students are prone to develop a pathological fear of medical conditions they are taught about. The aim of this study is to examine the sample of students (medical and non-medical) in order to assess and compare their level of hypochondriacal attitudes and health-related anxiety. We also examined other factors which might have had an influence on hypochondria and nosophobia attitudes among students. Methods: The study was conducted in two groups of students: 313 medical students at the Medical University of Silesia and 293 students at non-medical universities in Katowice, Poland. The study used the medical student syndrome self-explanatory questionnaire constructed for the study, taking into account the specificity of the group and the research problem. The research questionnaire was completed in an online survey by 606 students. Results: The results of the study showed that medical students obtained the same scores on a nosophobic scale as the non-medical students (p = 0.5). The analysis of hypochondriacal behavior showed significantly higher results in the non-medical student group (p = 0.02). In the entire study group, females and participants with mental disorders obtained higher scores in relation to nosophobia. Symptoms of depression and anxiety were more common in the group of medical students. Conclusions: Medical studies are not a risk factor for the occurrence of health anxiety and hypochondrial attitudes. Such factors are female gender and having a mental illness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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14 pages, 566 KiB  
Article
Is There an Association between Health Risk Behaviours and Academic Achievement among University Students?
by Catriona Kar Yuen Ong, Melinda J. Hutchesson, Amanda J. Patterson and Megan C. Whatnall
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8314; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168314 - 05 Aug 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3919
Abstract
University students have high rates of health risk behaviours, and these may be predictive of academic success. This cross-sectional study aimed to determine the association between individual and multiple health risk behaviours and academic achievement in a sample of Australian university students. Data [...] Read more.
University students have high rates of health risk behaviours, and these may be predictive of academic success. This cross-sectional study aimed to determine the association between individual and multiple health risk behaviours and academic achievement in a sample of Australian university students. Data from the University of Newcastle Student Healthy Lifestyle Survey 2019 were used. Health risk behaviours (diet, physical activity, sitting time, sleep, alcohol consumption, smoking) were assessed, and total number of risk factors calculated. Academic achievement was assessed using self-reported grade point average (GPA). The association between health risk behaviours and GPA was explored using linear regression, adjusted for socio-demographic and student characteristics. The sample included 1543 students (mean age 25.0 ± 7.9 years, 70.6% female). Lower GPA was associated with not meeting fruit consumption recommendations (β = −0.203), consuming >1 cup of soft drink/week (β = −0.307), having takeaway foods ≥1 time/week (β = −0.130), not consuming breakfast daily (β = −0.261), not meeting sleep recommendations (β = −0.163), exceeding single occasion alcohol consumption risk (β = −0.277), smoking (β = −0.393), and having a higher number of risk factors (β = −0.105). This study identified modest associations between GPA and health risk behaviours, suggesting that further research is warranted into whether strategies to improve university students’ health could modestly improve their academic achievement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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12 pages, 324 KiB  
Article
Smartphone Addiction and Sleep Quality on Academic Performance of University Students: An Exploratory Research
by Balan Rathakrishnan, Soon Singh Bikar Singh, Mohammad Rahim Kamaluddin, Azizi Yahaya, Mohd Azrin Mohd Nasir, Fauziah Ibrahim and Zaizul Ab Rahman
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8291; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168291 - 05 Aug 2021
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 22590
Abstract
This study was conducted to examine the relationship between smartphone addiction, sleep quality, and academic performance. The study presented quantitative research on 323 students in a public university in Sabah to explore the relationship between smartphone addiction, sleep quality, and academic performance. A [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to examine the relationship between smartphone addiction, sleep quality, and academic performance. The study presented quantitative research on 323 students in a public university in Sabah to explore the relationship between smartphone addiction, sleep quality, and academic performance. A simple random sampling was used in the study. The Smartphone Addiction Scale Short Version (SAS-SV) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) were used in this study. SPSS was used as a tool of analysis for descriptive and inferential analysis. Pearson correlation was involved to test the hypothesis of the study. The result indicated that the greater the smartphone addiction, the lower the academic performance of university students. The finding also proved that students with poor sleep quality might exhibit low academic performance. Smartphone addiction was found to be associated with sleep quality where overusing smartphones was related to poor sleep quality in university students. On this basis, the problem of smartphone addiction and sleep quality should be tackled in order to improve the academic performance of university students and their overall health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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19 pages, 772 KiB  
Article
Study Crafting and Self-Undermining in Higher Education Students: A Weekly Diary Study on the Antecedents
by Lorena Sarah Körner, Thomas Rigotti and Kerstin Rieder
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 7090; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137090 - 02 Jul 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4378
Abstract
The aim of the current study is to validate the adaptation of the job demands–resources theory to the study context. In addition, we introduce the concepts study crafting and self-undermining to the study demands–resources framework by examining the mediating role of engagement and [...] Read more.
The aim of the current study is to validate the adaptation of the job demands–resources theory to the study context. In addition, we introduce the concepts study crafting and self-undermining to the study demands–resources framework by examining the mediating role of engagement and exhaustion in the relationship between study characteristics and study crafting and self-undermining. Over four consecutive weeks, 205 higher education students answered a questionnaire about their weekly study demands and resources, their well-being (i.e., engagement, exhaustion), and their study crafting and self-undermining behaviors. Multilevel structural equation modeling (controlling for autoregressors of mediators and dependent variables from the previous week) demonstrated a positive relationship between study resources and study crafting mediated by engagement, as well as a positive relationship between study demands and self-undermining mediated by exhaustion. Our findings show that even short-term fluctuations in study characteristics affect students’ well-being and, in turn, their proactive and dysfunctional behaviors. Accordingly, universities should provide a resource-rich study environment and limit study demands as much as possible. Furthermore, our results demonstrate that students can also actively influence their study environment themselves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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11 pages, 296 KiB  
Article
Food Insecurity: Is It a Threat to University Students’ Well-Being and Success?
by Nor Syaza Sofiah Ahmad, Norhasmah Sulaiman and Mohamad Fazli Sabri
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5627; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115627 - 25 May 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 6725
Abstract
Food insecurity is a growing concern among university students. The high prevalence of food insecurity is a threat to students’ health and success. Therefore, this study aims to determine an association between food security status, psychosocial factors, and academic performance among university students. [...] Read more.
Food insecurity is a growing concern among university students. The high prevalence of food insecurity is a threat to students’ health and success. Therefore, this study aims to determine an association between food security status, psychosocial factors, and academic performance among university students. A total of 663 undergraduate students in seven randomly selected faculties in Universiti Putra Malaysia participated in this study. An online survey was conducted to obtain demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, food security status (six-item USDA; food security survey module, FSSM), psychosocial factors (depression, anxiety and stress scale, DASS-21) and academic performance. Among the abovementioned participating students, 32.4% are male. About 62.8% reported to have experienced food insecurity. Binary logistic regression revealed that students whose fathers were working (AOR = 6.446, 95% CI: 1.22, 34.01) came from low- (AOR = 14.314, 95% CI: 1.565, 130.954) and middle-income groups (AOR = 15.687, 95% CI: 1.720, 143.092), and those receiving financial aid (AOR = 2.811, 95% CI: 1.602, 4.932) were associated with food insecurity. Additionally, food insecurity students were less-likely reported, with CGPA ≥ 3.7 (AOR = 0.363, 95% CI: 1.22–34.014). Food insecurity respondents had higher odds for stress (AOR = 1.562, 95% CI: 1.111, 2.192), anxiety (AOR = 3.046, 95% CI: 2.090, 4.441), and depression (AOR = 2.935, 95% CI: 2.074, 4.151). The higher institutions should identify students with food insecurity problems and future intervention programs need to be conducted to combat food insecurity among students, thus yielding benefits to their health and success. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
14 pages, 342 KiB  
Article
A Qualitative Exploration on the Challenges of Transfer Students in an Asian Educational Context
by Shirley Siu Yin Ching, Kin Yuen Tam, Lillian Weiwei Zhang, Jeremy Ng and Kin Cheung
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 3238; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063238 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3460
Abstract
Limited research has been conducted on community college (CC) transfer students’ (TS) experiences in four-year universities, particularly in Asian contexts. To fill this research gap, in this qualitative study, 124 TS from various disciplines in a Hong Kong university participated in 39 focus [...] Read more.
Limited research has been conducted on community college (CC) transfer students’ (TS) experiences in four-year universities, particularly in Asian contexts. To fill this research gap, in this qualitative study, 124 TS from various disciplines in a Hong Kong university participated in 39 focus groups and seven individual interviews. Unlike their Western counterparts, our TS were relatively better prepared and more academically adaptive. Nevertheless, their social integration was restricted by a lack of time for extra-curricular activities, a sense of inferiority and incompetence, and restricted social circles that did not enable interaction with non-TS. These challenges and their implications are discussed. In particular, this study has highlighted differences between the special education systems for CC transfer in Hong Kong and those in Western CC models. The study has also highlighted the study-induced stress, and poor self-perceptions that TS experience, despite their academic abilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
12 pages, 777 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Childhood Left-Behind Experience on the Mental Health of Late Adolescents: Evidence from Chinese College Freshmen
by Huajun Wu, Zhiyong Cai, Qing Yan, Yi Yu and Ning Neil Yu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2778; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052778 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3335
Abstract
A paucity of public service afforded to migrant workers often begets a wide range of social problems. In China, hundreds of millions of migrant worker parents have to leave children behind in their hometowns. This paper investigated the long-term effects of the childhood [...] Read more.
A paucity of public service afforded to migrant workers often begets a wide range of social problems. In China, hundreds of millions of migrant worker parents have to leave children behind in their hometowns. This paper investigated the long-term effects of the childhood experience of being left behind on the mental well-being of late adolescents. Mandatory university personality inventory (UPI) surveys (involving psychosomatic problems such as anxiety, depression, and stress) were conducted at a university in Jiangsu, China, during 2014–2017. The study sample consisted of 15,804 first-year college students aged between 15 and 28 years. The PSM method and the OLS regression model were employed. Controlling for the confounding factors (gender, age, single-child status, hometown location, ethnicity, and economic status), our empirical investigation demonstrated that childhood left-behind experience significantly worsened the mental health of the study sample, increasing the measure of mental ill-being by 0.661 standard deviations (p < 0.01). Moreover, the effects were consistently significant in subsamples divided by gender, single-child status, and hometown location; and the effects were greater for females, single-child students, and urban residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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14 pages, 4314 KiB  
Article
Emotions as Predictors of Life Satisfaction among University Students
by Óscar Gavín-Chocano, David Molero, Jose Luis Ubago-Jiménez and Inmaculada García-Martínez
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9462; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249462 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2705
Abstract
Emotional management is a decisive factor in building stimulating environments for the comprehensive development of individuals. In this study, 338 students enrolled in education degrees (n = 338), with an average age of 22.88 years (±5.50), participated. The following instruments were used: [...] Read more.
Emotional management is a decisive factor in building stimulating environments for the comprehensive development of individuals. In this study, 338 students enrolled in education degrees (n = 338), with an average age of 22.88 years (±5.50), participated. The following instruments were used: Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), Wong Law Emotional Intelligence Scale (WLEI-S), Trait Meta Mood Scale 24 (TMMS 24) and Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQi-C). The objective was to determine the complementarity of certain dimensions of EI that predict greater life satisfaction based on the multivariate statistics of structural equations. The multi-group model obtained good structural validity (χ2 = 103,729; RMSEA = 0.078; GFI = 0.917; CFI = 0.942; IFI = 0.943). In addition, significant correlations were found between life satisfaction and all dimensions were included in the emotional intelligence instruments used (p < 0.01). In terms of gender, we found that women had higher scores in all EI dimensions, in contrast to life satisfaction, where men had higher scores. The findings suggest the importance of working emotions in future educators to become satisfied and effective professionals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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Review

Jump to: Research

18 pages, 1588 KiB  
Review
The Tridirectional Relationship among Physical Activity, Stress, and Academic Performance in University Students: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
by Kathrin Wunsch, Janis Fiedler, Philip Bachert and Alexander Woll
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 739; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020739 - 16 Jan 2021
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 11552
Abstract
Higher education students often suffer from physiological and psychological health problems caused by stress, which may negatively impact their academic performance (AP). Physical activity (PA) can be a promising strategy to buffer these stress-induced complaints. Therefore, the aim of this investigation was to [...] Read more.
Higher education students often suffer from physiological and psychological health problems caused by stress, which may negatively impact their academic performance (AP). Physical activity (PA) can be a promising strategy to buffer these stress-induced complaints. Therefore, the aim of this investigation was to summarize evidence for the tridimensional construct of PA, stress, and AP, as well as to quantify the relationships among these variables. Five databases (PubMed, Scopus, SMEI, ERIC, and Web of Science) were systematically searched in November 2019 for publications that examined PA, stress, and AP of university students, without any restrictions regarding the publication period. The systematic review includes four original research studies with a moderate-to-high risk of bias. Results of included studies were narratively summarized and quantified in a meta-analysis using random effect models. Whereas study results point to a positive relation between PA and AP, relationships between PA and stress seem to be negative, while the relation between stress and AP is undecided. The meta-analysis found no significant associations and considerable heterogeneity of the results. Findings indicate a research gap concerning the connection of PA, stress, and AP in university students. Future studies should use validated measuring tools and consider the timepoint of data collection in order to extract truly stressful periods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue University Students' Health and Academic Achievement)
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