University student well-being in the United Kingdom: a scoping review of its conceptualisation and measurement

Alyson L. Dodd*, Michael Priestley, Katie Tyrrell, Sebastien Cygan, Catherine Newell, Nicola C. Byrom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Well-being is a multifaceted construct, and measuring well-being, both within particular groups and at a national level, is a priority for policy and practice. This national agenda on measuring well-being is mirrored in the Higher Education sector. This is the first conceptual review of how well-being is measured among university students in the UK. The aims of the review were to identify (i) the definitions or conceptualisations of well-being guiding the selection of well-being indicators for research within this population and (ii) measures of well-being used in university students in the UK. A scoping review method was used. Twenty-eight validated indicators used to measure well-being in UK students were identified. While many were direct measures of (primarily mental or psychological) well-being, indirect "proxy" indicators, including measures of mental health symptoms, were identified. This review has highlighted that there are inconsistencies in defining and measuring university student well-being, and the measures that have been used in this population are focused on subjective experience. These findings are in line with reviews of well-being measures in the general population. Implications for further research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-387
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number3
Early online date11 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2021


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