Factors associated with the psychological well-being and distress of university students

Jessica Burris, Emily Brechting, John Salsman, Charles Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Objective: Because of the serious nature of psychiatric illness and related problems, the authors attempted to identify demographic, individual, and behavioral factors linked to university students' psychological health. Participants: They surveyed 353 (60.9% female) predominately Caucasian (88.7%) university students attending a large public university. Methods: The authors used a self-report questionnaire including valid and reliable psychometric instruments for all study variables. They conducted multiple regression analyses to examine associations among study variables using a cross-sectional design. Results: More favorable health states (ie, greater psychological well-being and less distress) were positively associated with optimism, health values, and religiousness and were negatively associated with spirituality and number of sexual partners. Conclusions: Results demonstrated that multiple protective and risk factors contribute to the psychological well-being and distress of university students. Health promotion practitioners should adopt strategies that strengthen the personality characteristics and values associated with university students' psychological health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-544
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009


  • College health
  • Health-as-a-value
  • Religiousness
  • Sexual practices
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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