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The data in this report come from Pew Internet Project surveys conducted throughout , which were bundled together to collect a statistically meaningful population of those who said they attended community college, four-year schools, and graduate schools. For more information about the samples, please see the Methodology section at the end of this report. When it comes to general internet access, young adults of all stripes are much more likely than the general population to go online. These differences in wireless usage between students and non-students are largely driven by differences in laptop computer ownership.

School attendance has little correlation with social media usage, as young adults use social networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn at roughly similar rates regardless of educational attainment—although non-students are a bit more likely than community college students to use these sites.

Young adults—students and non-students alike—own a wide range of gadgets at high rates compared with the overall adult population, although there are some areas where undergraduate and graduate students stand out from the pack. Specifically, undergraduate and graduate students are more likely than both community college students and college-aged non-students to own a laptop computer and an iPod or other mp3 player. Graduate students also have relatively high levels of desktop computer ownership compared with their peers, while undergraduates are more likely than average to own an e-book reader.

We measure overall wireless connectivity in two ways. One way is by asking users if they connect through wireless cards in their laptops. Most people of all ages who own laptops now do this. The more striking difference appears in the second aspect of wireless internet use — through mobile phones. College students are much more likely than the overall cell owner population to use the internet on their mobile phones, although all young adults do this at a relatively high rate regardless of student status.

Over the years, wellness has been conceptualized as a multidimensional phenomenon Keyes, ; Miller and Foster, ; Myers et al. For example, Ryff posits the multidimensional model of psychological well-being, which comprises six distinct components. These include autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, purpose in life, positive relations with others, and self-acceptance. However, this model fails to incorporate the physical aspects of wellness and thus limiting usefulness in addressing wellness as a whole Degges-White et al. This model was developed to promote wellness in university and community settings.

It has been used to modify health behaviors in college students Gieck and Olsen, and enhance prevention and treatment of diabetes Klepac, Holistic wellness consists of six broad dimensions of health-related behaviors: In other words, the pursuit of wellness is a lifelong endeavor, and educational facilities are ideal settings for wellness promotion Harrington, ; Miller et al. Regardless of the number of wellness dimensions, researchers agree that wellness is a multidimensional, positive, and affirming concept that has enormous practical and therapeutic benefits e.

Harrington, ; Hattie et al. Historically, small liberal arts colleges have proclaimed a distinctive mission by providing students with an educational experience which fosters intellectual openness, learning for their own sake, high-quality teaching, smaller class sizes, and frequent student—student and student—faculty interactions both in and out of the classroom Bovillian and Murphy, ; Hanson et al.

Journal of Nutrition and Human Health

A growing body of research in higher education suggests that students attending a small, private, liberal arts college are more likely to experience good practices in undergraduate education e. For example, liberal arts colleges were the first institutional type to implement Chickering and Gamson Good Practices in Undergraduate Teaching Model. This model identifies seven principles for good practices in undergraduate teaching e.

For the most part, the experiences were similar, except for two principle outcomes: Moreover, they found that students who were less prepared for college e. Although the findings are somewhat encouraging, this study did not assess other measures of student success such as emotional well-being.

Research universities, on the other hand, articulate a mission statement to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge as well as advance scientific and technological research Jacobs and Hyman, As a result, undergraduate students are presented with a plethora of research opportunities which have been linked to increased confidence and awareness, increased cumulative grade point average, increased anticipation of a PhD, and clarification of interest in science, technology, engineering, and math STEM careers Jones et al.

Students and alumni surveyed at a research institution reported that working collaboratively with peers and faculty mentors engaged in research was important for developing skills and increasing their academic confidence Levis-Fitzgerald and Denson, Similarly, Gilmore et al.

They found the undergraduate research experience e. However, the examination of wellness factors as a measure of student success was not assessed. Both research and liberal arts academic institutions are devoted to developing teachers, scholars, and other professionals capable of achieving and contributing to society-at-large.

Despite these noble similarities, it is unclear how these academic institutions compare on measures of holistic wellness. Research suggests that wellness has a lifelong effect on academic, business, and individual success Dolan et al. According to Helliwell and Putnam , the ultimate dependent variable is human well-being, and all other outcomes derive their importance. The primary purpose of this study was to examine differences in reported wellness in undergraduate college students attending a land grant research university or a small liberal arts college with a teaching mandate.

To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine wellness within this context. Although this is a preliminary study, we expect differences to emerge between the two academic institutions. Participants were recruited using word of mouth, and the majority of the participants were psychology majors. Sample characteristics as a function of institution type are presented in Table 1.

We assessed all demographic variables e. Our wellness measures are as follows:. Participants were prompted to consider how well the items describe their behavior e. I believe I can grow in positive ways by dealing with difficult situations on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 does not describe you at all to 5 it describes you very well. Convergent validity was demonstrated on measures of personal coping resources and psychological well-being in two samples of rheumatoid arthritis patients.

After obtaining informed consent, the survey package was administered during regular class time. The data were collected during the — academic year. To determine the differences between groups e. To determine significant predictors of wellness, a standard multiple regression analysis was utilized. Effect sizes were also calculated where appropriate, and the alpha level was set at. Due to the poor psychometric properties for the measure of spiritual wellness, these data were not included in the current analyses. The liberal arts group had a greater number of male and minority participants than the research institution group see Table 1.

Table 2 presents the means and standard deviations for the study variables as a function of institution type. Participants enrolled at the small liberal arts college reported higher physical activity levels and endorsed more health-related behaviors than college students attending the research institution. Moreover, students attending the research university reported a greater need to belong than their liberal arts counterparts. Collectively, the effect sizes for the analyses suggest a moderate effect. When collapsed across academic institutions, employment status as a measure of occupational wellness and gender differences were found.

With regard to employment status, students who were gainfully employed reported greater self-efficacy, F 1, 3. However, employed college students reported less physical activity than their unemployed counterparts, F 1, 4. As expected, female students reported reduced physical activity levels, F 1, We performed multiple regression analyses for the two wellness variables which were found to be significantly different between the two institutions. Both regression models had significant predictive powers: In this study, we examined levels of holistic wellness between college students attending a research university and a small liberal arts college.

Our results revealed few differences on measures of wellness; however, two significant differences did emerge from this cross-sectional design. First, students attending the small liberal arts college self-reported being more physically activity and subsequently, endorsed more overall health behaviors than their research university counterparts. It is plausible that these differences are due, in part, to gender effects.

There were significantly more males in the liberal arts group, and the overrepresentation of females in the research group may have contributed to these differences. Research shows that physical activity levels are higher among men than women e. For example, Taliaferro et al. They found men were more likely than were women to participate in aerobic activity on a weekly basis. Indeed, when you collapse across academic institutions, males reported a significantly higher level of physical activity in this study. Furthermore, we found no significant differences between the groups institutional type or gender with regard to diet.

The above findings may also reflect a differential approach to stress management. Theory explaining gender-socialized behaviors has long placed instrumental traits e. Men may show their assertive behavior through action such as increased physical activity. However, women may demonstrate their expressive behavior through dependence on social relationships and increased belonging needs. Although instrumental and expressive trait behaviors are associated with stereotypical gender roles, some research suggests that men and women during emerging adulthood may utilize both traits when making decisions about health-related behaviors Shifren et al.

Young people identifying with the androgynous trait category may report greater physical activity than those identifying with feminine traits. Additionally, Sieverding et al. Activity choices about management of stress in the college population are likely to be biased toward those traits most reinforced during early development.

Second, students attending the research university reported a higher reliance upon social acceptance need to belong compared with their liberal arts counterparts. More importantly, a high need to belong reflects a heightened motivation to be accepted by others and avoid being shunned. Again, it is plausible that this difference between the academic institutions is due, in part, to gender issues.

In this study, the research group was overwhelmingly female. Indeed, when you collapse across institutional types, women endorsed a significantly higher need to belong than men. Our finding is consistent with previous research regarding gender difference with respect to belongingness or connectedness e. Baumeister and Sommer, ; Good et al.

An examination of college student wellness: A research and liberal arts perspective

It is also plausible that a large research institution provides more opportunities for satisfying this fundamental need for acceptance and belonging. Therefore, individuals with a heightened inclusion need may be drawn to a research university as opposed to a smaller liberal arts college.

Indeed, further studies are warranted to ferret out these findings. In this current investigation, we found that students who were gainfully employed reported greater self-efficacy and belongingness compared with their unemployed counterparts. Our findings are not surprising, and they are in line with previous research on the benefits of employment on well-being Boreham et al.

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According to Warr , employment is associated with many positive benefits such as income, interpersonal contact, opportunity for control, opportunity for skill use, and valued social position, just to name a few. We also found that employed students engaged in less physical activity than their unemployed counterparts. Working, while attending college, is very demanding. Furthermore, it may be difficult to squeeze in an exercise time or a healthy meal under these time constraints. For college students, common barriers to exercise include other priorities, fatigue, no motivation, and lack of time Ebben and Brudzynski, ; Greaney et al.

However, Bhochhibhoya et al. Clearly, our single-item measure does not capture completely the construct of occupational wellness; further studies are warranted. Finally, this study found self-esteem to be the best predictor of physical well-being, and perceived stress was the best predictor of social well-being.

Self-esteem refers to the value we place on aspects of our self. Research shows that physical activity tends to positively influence our self-perception and consequently our self-esteem Ahmed et al. For example, Schmalz et al.


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Likewise, a sense of belonging is a fundamental need that is often satisfied via friendships, social activities, and close relationships Baumeister and Leary, The college environment provides a myriad of opportunities for strengthening social ties and thereby satisfies this universal need to belong. This increase in workload, in the absences of resources, can produce feelings of stress and burnout Bakker et al. Future studies should examine the relationship between holistic wellness and membership in professional and social organizations among college students. Despite the relative strengths of this study, there are also limitations to consider.

Our sampling method was nonrandom and may not be representative of colleges and universities in other parts of the country. In addition, this study was cross-sectional which eliminates cause and effect interpretations regarding the variables of interest. Moreover, our college student sample lacked diversity e. This prevented the inclusion of ethnicity and gender in intergroup analyses. For example, Spurgeon found Black males attending a historically black colleges and university HBCU scored significantly higher on wellness dimensions of friendship, love, sense of control , and gender identity compared to Black males attending the predominantly white institution PWI.

It is important that future studies recruit larger samples of males and minorities to examine critical differences in wellness components as a function of academic institutions. Our study did not examine wellness dimensions in students attending a community college.

Wellness concept

The inclusion of a community college group would provide a more complete examination of college student wellness. Likewise, employment status is an objective index of occupational wellness. However, this single item does not capture the construct in its entirety. Future studies should incorporate broader measures of wellness e.


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The foundation for lifelong wellness is laid during the college years in which young adults learn to balance academic, financial, social, and health-related demands independently. The degree to which an individual can balance successfully these life challenges is a direct reflection of their level of wellness.

Our findings highlight aspects of wellness which are a source of concern for both types of academic institutions. The authors would like to extend sincere thanks to Autumn Hill and Seth Green for providing technical assistance. Declaration of conflicting interests: National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Health Psychol Open v.

Published online Aug 2. Abstract Promoting wellness within academia reduces disease frequency and enhances overall health. Wellness concept Wellness, as a concept, captures in many ways the broader definition of health. Liberal arts and research institutions Historically, small liberal arts colleges have proclaimed a distinctive mission by providing students with an educational experience which fosters intellectual openness, learning for their own sake, high-quality teaching, smaller class sizes, and frequent student—student and student—faculty interactions both in and out of the classroom Bovillian and Murphy, ; Hanson et al.

Research: College Students More Distracted Than Ever -- Campus Technology

Purpose of this study Both research and liberal arts academic institutions are devoted to developing teachers, scholars, and other professionals capable of achieving and contributing to society-at-large. Descriptive characteristics of participants as a function of institution type. Open in a separate window.

Measures Demographic survey We assessed all demographic variables e. Our wellness measures are as follows: Diet and exercise were assessed using the modified Health Behavior Profile Rice, This instrument consists of items, and participants were asked to indicate how accurately each item describes their health habits. Responses range from 1 never to 5 daily. High scores suggest that diet and exercise habits are fairly good. This scale Cohen et al.

This survey comprised items, of which 7 are positively formulated e. In the last month, how often have you felt things are going your way? In the last month, how often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life? This is a widely used instrument, and higher scores indicate greater stress levels.


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The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. This scale Rosenberg, assessed global feelings of self-worth or self-acceptance. This is a item scale, and it is one of the most well used measures to assess self-esteem Blascovich and Tomaka, It is rated on a 4-point scale from 1 strongly agree to 4 strongly disagree.