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How learning about wellbeing can benefit university students' own wellbeing

Studying wellbeing science could be a key way of improving how today's students cope with the pressures they face

Date:
August 5, 2022
Source:
Swansea University
Summary:
Studying wellbeing science as part of their courses could be a key way of improving how today's students cope with the barrage of stressors they face. Students are a high-risk population for mental ill-health and face increasing academic demands, loneliness and inancial pressures but now a team examined the benefit they could get from studying an optional wellbeing science module.
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Studying wellbeing science as part of their courses could be a key way of improving how today's students cope with the barrage of stressors they face, according to research.

Students are a high-risk population for mental ill-health and face increasing academic demands, high levels of loneliness and sustained financial pressures, which can adversely impact on mental health.

Now a Swansea University team have taken a closer look at just what impact an optional wellbeing science module offered to undergraduates would have on students' wellbeing.

The research, by Professor Andrew Kemp and his co-authors consultant clinical psychologist Dr Zoe Fisher, of the University's Health and Wellbeing Academy and PhD student Jessica Mead, has just been published in the journal Teaching of Psychology .

Professor Kemp, who is research lead at the School of Psychology, said: "The wellbeing of university students is deteriorating, highlighting a critical role for institutions to better support student wellbeing."

Previous studies have explored the impact of positive psychology on student wellbeing, but this module created by the team moved beyond positive psychology, focusing on promoting a sense of connection to self, others, and nature.

He said: "Research tells us that wellbeing can be influenced by issues such as inequality and anthropogenic climate change. Our module encourages reflection on these issues and what students might do to within their capacity to address major societal issues of importance.

"While the capacity of individuals to promote their own wellbeing is greater than their capacity to promote collective and planetary wellbeing, there remains tremendous scope for individuals themselves to promote collective and planetary wellbeing alongside larger collaborative efforts through for example, volunteering and effective activism."

The team used questionnaires to assess students' feelings of wellbeing before and after completing the module, alongside the results from a control group which did not complete the module. Comparisons with published norms, further highlighted the beneficial impact of the module.

The team say its research is significant for several key reasons:

  • students are at high risk of developing mental health difficulties;
  • improvements in wellbeing have been shown to reduce future healthcare costs; and
  • the findings demonstrate that wellbeing can be improved despite great hardship and suffering.

Professor Kemp explained the timing of the study was particularly relevant: "Our study was conducted during the Covid pandemic and demonstrates capacity of strategically designed modules to improve student wellbeing during challenging times.

"These findings have important implications for thinking about how the education sector might support wellbeing alongside other major societal stressors such as the climate catastrophe."


Story Source:

Materials provided by Swansea University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew H. Kemp, Jessica Mead, Zoe Fisher. Improving Student Wellbeing: Evidence From a Mixed Effects Design and Comparison to Normative Data. Teaching of Psychology, 2022; 009862832211124 DOI: 10.1177/00986283221112428

Cite This Page:

Swansea University. "How learning about wellbeing can benefit university students' own wellbeing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2022. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/08/220805103722.htm>.
Swansea University. (2022, August 5). How learning about wellbeing can benefit university students' own wellbeing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 21, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/08/220805103722.htm
Swansea University. "How learning about wellbeing can benefit university students' own wellbeing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/08/220805103722.htm (accessed February 21, 2024).

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