Healthy living environment in the prediction of stress and depression levels of undergraduate college students
This study was conducted to investigate if various independent variables could be used in the prediction of stress and depression levels of undergraduate college students. Ninety-eight percent of college students state they have experienced stress within the past year, with 53% reporting tremendous amounts of stress. The stressors faced by these students result in decreased academic performance, family problems, relationship problems, and job difficulties, to name a few (NCHA, 2011). Therefore, the timeliness of the topic seems most appropriate. The prediction variables used in the two multiple linear regression models were healthy living resident, student athlete, gender, ethnicity, and classification. The researcher sought to understand both the stress and depression levels of undergraduate college students through a survey administered to all undergraduate students attending a 4-year regional university in the fall of 2009 (N = 492). Three groups were identified from the sample, healthy living residents, student athletes, and the general student population. The responses from the survey plus the demographic data were analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings of the quantitative data analyzed from the survey yielded statistically significant models for both stress and depression. However, not all of the predictor variables independently contributed to the model. The stress model only had two independent variables which significantly contributed to the model; student athletes and gender, while the depression model only had one significant predictor in student athletes. The findings were unexpected in that the researcher's initial hypothesis had healthy living residents providing the greatest contribution to both models. However, the findings of this study will assist student affairs personnel and administrators in the development of new programs. The researcher concludes that there may be a law of diminishing return as students become too involved in programs and extracurricular activities outside of their academic endeavors (Astin, 1975). Developers of holistic programs should be aware of this finding in their establishment of such programs. Future research should focus on distinguishing at what point students' affective skills, mainly stress and depression, become weakened with their level of involvement.