Is the health and wellbeing of university students associated with their academic performance? Cross sectional findings from the United Kingdom

Walid El Ansari, Christiane Stock
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2010, 7 (2): 509-27
This study explored the associations between health awareness, health behaviour, subjective health status, and satisfaction of students with their educational experience as independent variables and three outcomes of educational achievement as dependent variables. We undertook two simultaneous cross-sectional surveys among students from one University in the UK during 2008-2009. The first survey was a general health survey; the second survey measured students' satisfaction with different aspects of their learning and teaching experience. Students' registration numbers linked the responses of both questionnaires together, and subsequently linked the questionnaires to the university database to import the grades that students actually achieved in their studies. Generally, on average, students (N = 380) exhibited medium to high satisfaction with their educational experiences. In the multivariate regression analyses, students' satisfaction with their educational experiences was not associated with any of the three indicators of educational achievement (actual module mark; perceived own performance; importance of achieving good grades). The associations of educational satisfaction, health, health behaviours, heath complaints and financial parameters with the three outcomes of educational achievement did not differ between male and female students. Each of the health, health behaviours, health complaints and financial parameters were selectively associated with only some but not all three indicators of student educational achievement. We conclude that the findings support a conceptual framework suggesting reciprocal relationships between health, health behaviour and educational achievement. Comprehensive health promotion programmes may have the potential to influence relevant predictors of educational achievement in university students.

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