• SPOR Collaboration Grant Research Project
    Mar 20, 2018 | Queen's University

    Flourish student mental health research: Pathways to mental health and academic outcomes in undergraduate university students

    Principal Investigator: Duffy, Anne C; Bowie, Christopher R

    Co-Investigators: Foran, Hannah M; Heffer, Naomi R; Rivera, Daniel C; Cunningham, Simone; Goodday, Sarah M; Harkness, Kate L; King, Nathan; McNevin, Stephen H; Milanovic, Melissa; Morra, Alexandra A; Pickett, William; Saunders, Kate

    Abstract: Mental health and well-being are strongly associated with academic success in university students. The increasing need for mental health services in the wake of recent student suicides has overwhelmed resources and has been described as a mental health crisis on campuses. Yet, there is little evidence to inform universities as to specifically what mental health support services are needed and for whom and how best to deliver these services. An important next step towards answering these questions is to understand the pathways leading from risk and protective factors to different mental health and academic outcomes. To address this question, we leverage an existing collaboration and past experience in student survey studies, and propose a longitudinal study of students over the critical first year of study at either Queen’s or Oxford universities. Through an electronic survey sent via university email to each first year student in the first semester, we will evaluate important risk and protective factors across family, person and environment domains. We will also assess important influential variables such as lifestyle and attitudes. At the end of term, students will complete a follow-up survey asking about academic outcomes, mental health and the use and effectiveness of mental health support services. Findings will inform the development of resiliency building and mental illness prevention initiatives for the undergraduate student population, and the development of early intervention mental health services for targeted high-risk or help-seeking subgroups. Broader implications of this work include understanding mechanisms of resilience, mitigating morbidity and mortality related to emergent mental illness, and determining multi-level contributors to academic success. This research project will form a platform for the development of a national student mental health research program with international links.

    U-Flourish Research Project Website

    Keywords: ANXIETY; DEPRESSION; LONGITUDINAL; MEDIATION; MENTAL HEALTH; RESILIENCY; RISK FACTORS; STUDENT HEALTH; SUBSTANCE USE