Garcia, Kristina Marie (2011-05). The Impact of College Students' Life Experiences on the Various Dimensions of Wellness: A Qualitative Study. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • With the millions of students currently enrolled in higher education, a substantial opportunity arises for college personnel to impact the health and wellness of our future U.S. adult population. Most health scholars agree that wellness is a multidimensional construct. Despite disagreement regarding the optimal number of dimensions - ranging from three to twelve - there is a general consensus around the following: (1) physical, (2) social, (3) spiritual, (4) intellectual, (5) emotional, and (6) occupational. With regard to these six dimensions of wellness, the purpose of this study was to conduct a naturalistic inquiry among graduating health education majors to evaluate which particular dimension of wellness was most influenced or impacted, by their college life experience. Participants were recruited via email and in-class-visits. Of the 173 students who were eligible to participate in this study at the time of recruitment, 58 indicated interest and a final sample size of 30 students were interviewed. When determining which specific dimension of wellness was most impacted or influenced by the college life experience, two narratives of an unplanned pregnancy and alcoholism immediately came to mind. However, when trying to compile all 30 narratives to identify which dimension was most impacted, collectively, I concluded that all dimensions were impacted, and, due to the dimensions' interconnectedness, no one particular dimension could be singled out as most impacted. The six dimensions of wellness interact continually and synergistically. For example, the need for stress management and stress reduction is linked mostly obviously with emotional wellness; however, should one practice yoga for stress relief, he/she is impacting their physical, social, and spiritual health as well. Segmenting students' narratives about their college life experiences into discrete domains represented a challenge - one that reflects how activities that support wellness cannot easily be segmented into discrete domains, either.

publication date

  • May 2011