Flourishing, substance use, and engagement in students entering college: a preliminary study.J Am Coll Health 2011; 59(6):555-61JA
The present study explores the association between positive mental health or flourishing, depression, and engaged learning in undergraduates.
Entering first year students (N = 428) at a liberal arts college.
Students completed measures of depression, flourishing, substance use, and student engagement.
Based on Keyes' model of mental health,(1) 69.1% of students were flourishing, 29.0% were moderately mentally healthy, and 1.9% were languishing. In addition, 21.8% of students had elevated depression scores, and these scores were highly correlated with languishing. Alcohol consumption and binge drinking were not associated with measures of mental health. However, certain kinds of student engagement were associated with flourishing.
Results suggest more flourishing in this sample entering college than in previous studies of high school students or adults. Future research should explore flourishing in undergraduates in more diverse samples across educational institutions, and employ prospective designs.