Including Well-being Science In Curriculum Can Reduce Student Stress

May 26, 2023; Unhurry Expert Research Team

Studying well-being science as part of their courses could improve how today’s students cope with the barrage of stressors they face.

Students are a high-risk population for mental ill-health and face increasing academic demands, loneliness, and financial pressures but now a team examined the benefit they could get from studying an optional wellbeing science module.

According to research, studying well-being science as part of their courses could be a keyway of improving how today’s students cope with the barrage of stressors they face.

Impact of an optional well-being Module

The Swansea University team has taken a closer look at just what impact an optional well-being science module offered to undergraduates would have on students’ well-being.

The research, by Professor Andrew Kemp and his co-authors — consultant clinical psychologist Dr. Zoe Fisher, of the University’s Health and Wellbeing Academy and PhD student Jessica Mead, has been published in the journal Teaching of Psychology.

Professor Kemp, who is the research lead at the School of Psychology, said: “The wellbeing of university students is deteriorating, highlighting a critical role for institutions to better support student wellbeing.”

Importance of connectedness with oneself and others

Previous research has looked at the effect of positive psychology on students’ well-being, but the team’s program went beyond this field by emphasizing the importance of fostering a sense of connectedness to oneself, others, and the natural world.

He said: “Research tells us that well-being can be influenced by issues such as inequality and anthropogenic climate change. Our module encourages reflection on these issues and what students might do within their capacity to address major societal issues of importance.”

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Tremendous scope to promote collective well-being

“While the capacity of individuals to promote their own wellbeing is greater than their capacity to promote collective and planetary wellbeing, there remains tremendous scope for individuals themselves to promote collective and planetary wellbeing alongside larger collaborative efforts through for example, volunteering and effective activism.”

The team used questionnaires to assess students’ feelings of well-being before and after completing the module, alongside the results from a control group that did not complete the module. Comparisons with published norms revealed the module’s positive effects even further.

The team says its research is significant for several key reasons:

  • students are at high risk of developing mental health difficulties.
  • improvements in well-being have been shown to reduce future healthcare costs; and
  • The findings demonstrate that well-being can be improved despite great hardship and suffering.

Improves student well-being during challenging times.

Professor Kemp explained the timing of the study was particularly relevant: “Our study was conducted during the Covid pandemic and demonstrates the capacity of strategically designed modules to improve student wellbeing during challenging times.

“These findings have important implications for thinking about how the education sector might support wellbeing alongside other major societal stressors such as the climate catastrophe.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by Swansea University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Andrew H. Kemp, Jessica Mead, Zoe Fisher. Improving Student Wellbeing: Evidence From a Mixed Effects Design and Comparison to Normative Data. The teaching of Psychology, 2022; 009862832211124 DOI: 10.1177/00986283221112428

Page citation

Swansea University. “How learning about wellbeing can benefit university students’ own wellbeing: Studying wellbeing science could be a key way of improving how today’s students cope with the pressures they face.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2022. <>.

Help is here:

Name of the Organisation: Vandrevala Foundation

Vandrevala Foundation is a non-profit that partners with organizations to help communities thrive by providing education and healthcare. Vandrevala Foundation launched a mental health helpline in India in 2009 to offer free psychological counseling and crisis mediation to anyone who is experiencing distress due to depression, trauma, mood disorders, chronic illness, and relationship conflict.


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