We know that the transition to tertiary studies can be a difficult time for many individuals. Higher education providers (HEP) have implemented many programs to ease the transition for students. HEPs have developed transition programs for school leavers that include opportunities to visit and experience university campuses prior to completing secondary studies, workshops, orientation/emersion programs and uni preparation courses. For mature age students, orientations, course presentation evenings and workshops have also been implemented to allow all ages of students to feel comfortable at the idea of coming to a university campus. Once at a HEP, mentoring programs, learning communities, and study groups are often implemented as vehicles to assist in the transition to studying. In spite of much of the research, and the implementation of many programs, attrition levels are a continual issue for universities with academic and professional staff often trying to target the reasons for attrition, and tend to implement ad hoc strategies to stem the flow of students leaving higher education. When research is carried out to understand why attrition is still a large issue, HEPs generally find a myriad of idiosyncratic reasons related to the nature of the complex lives of the modern day student. Attrition statistics are generally the largest within the first year of study where movement is about the “fit” of the student to, university, course, class etc. Most transition literature, and programs, targets the social and academic transition of students. Indeed systems of peer support and academic support we see in HEPs have been built on these factors. However, it seems that little is known about the health and wellbeing of students generally and how these factors may impact their ability to maintain a position within higher education. Mental (ill) health statistics in students are reportedly equal to or greater than that of the general population. In addition health behaviours of Australian students correlated highly with lower levels of mental health. However there are still very few studies that specifically look at mental and physical health of students and the impact on their ability to remain at university, study and succeed. Further to this, with levels of subclinical ill health (suboptimal health) on the increase in the general population it would follow that suboptimal health statistics of students are also likely to be increasing. This study seeks to measure the health and wellbeing of contemporary university students and how it relates to study and academic success.
Desired Skills: Psychology Honours degree (or equivalent)
Project Area: Psychology
Supervisor(s): Professor Julie Ann Pooley, Professor Stephen Teo
Project level: PhD
Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship
Start date: Ongoing (prior to end of 2019)