University student well-being in the United Kingdom: a scoping review of its conceptualisation and measurement

Dodd, Alyson, Priestley, Michael, Tyrrell, Katie, Cygan, Sebastien, Newell, Catherine and Byrom, Nicola C. (2021) University student well-being in the United Kingdom: a scoping review of its conceptualisation and measurement. Journal of Mental Health, 30 (3). pp. 375-387. ISSN 0963-8237

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Well-being is a multifaceted construct, and measuring well-being, both within particular groups and at a national level, is a priority for policy and practice. This national agenda on measuring well-being is mirrored in the Higher Education sector. This is the first conceptual review of how well-being is measured among university students in the UK.

The aims of the review were to identify (i) the definitions or conceptualisations of well-being guiding the selection of well-being indicators for research within this population and (ii) measures of well-being used in university students in the UK.

A scoping review method was used.

Twenty-eight validated indicators used to measure well-being in UK students were identified. While many were direct measures of (primarily mental or psychological) well-being, indirect “proxy” indicators, including measures of mental health symptoms, were identified.

This review has highlighted that there are inconsistencies in defining and measuring university student well-being, and the measures that have been used in this population are focused on subjective experience. These findings are in line with reviews of well-being measures in the general population. Implications for further research are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This work was supported by a mental health network grant (SMaRteN) funded by UKRI, awarded to Dr Nicola Byrom & Dr Alyson Dodd [ES/S00324X/1]. The authors would like to acknowledge the SMaRteN leadership team, Professor Miranda Wolpert (University College London and Wellcome Trust), and Nancy Hey and colleagues at What Works Wellbeing for advice and guidance on this review.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Well-being, higher education, university student, scoping review, measurement
Subjects: C800 Psychology
X900 Others in Education
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2021 10:57
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2022 03:33

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