Date of Award

5-2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

College Student Personnel

Major Professor

Ernest W. Brewer

Committee Members

Gregory C. Petty, Alan P. Chesney

Abstract

Because health and wellness are declining in college-aged students, it is important for college student personnel administrators to become knowledgeable of wellness programming. Currently available information on students’ wellness at The University of Tennessee (UTK) is incomplete. This study examined the knowledge of wellness of first year students at UTK.

A descriptive survey was conducted in First Year Studies (FYS 100) classes to first year students at UTK during the Fall 2003 semester. The key purpose of this descriptive study was to examine UTK first year students’ knowledge of wellness and the extent to which their lifestyle behaviors reflect potential risks and hazards. Also, it was important to determine participants’ demographic characteristics. The questionnaire collected information on (a) gender, (b) age, (c) marital status, (d) ethnicity, (e) GPA, (f) ACT scores, (g) the college in which the participant was enrolled at UTK, (h) how often the participant used the UT Recreation Center, and (i) how many alcoholic drinks the participant consumed per week.

Established by the National Wellness Institute, the TestWell Inventory — college version was designed based on the six dimensions of wellness: (a) physical, (b) emotional, (c) social, (d) intellectual, (e) occupational, and (f) spiritual. The test addressed the following wellness issues: (a) physical fitness and nutrition, (b) medical self-care, (c) safety, (d) environmental wellness, (e) social awareness, (f) sexuality and emotional awareness, (g) emotional management, (h) intellectual wellness, (i) occupational wellness, and (j) spirituality and values.

A total of 382 first year students were purposively selected from the 540 students who were enrolled in the First Year Studies (FYS) 100 course, which was a portion of the total freshman population of 5,194. The researcher attended 21 of 30 FYS classes. The instrument used in this study was the TestWell Wellness Inventory, the college version. This test, which was developed by the National Wellness Institute Inc., was “designed to address lifestyle choices facing today’s college students” (Mental Measurements Yearbooks, 2002).

Major findings of the study displayed that (a) gender had an effect on TestWell Inventory mean scores; (b) grade point average (GPA) had an effect on TestWell Inventory mean scores. The higher the participants’ GPS, the higher their TestWell scores were; (c) similar to GPA, participants reported ACT scores had an effect on TestWel Inventory mean scores. On average, the higher the participants’ ACT scores, the higher their TestWell scores were; (d) usage of UTK’s recreation center had an effect on individuals’ TestWell Inventory scores. Participants who visited the recreation center more than 3 times per week had the highest mean scores in the (a) Physical Fitness and Nutrition, (b) Medical Self-Care, (c) Social Awareness, (d) Sexuality and Emotional Awareness, (e) Emotional Wellness, and (f) Occupational Wellness subscales, and (g) consumption of alcohol had an effect on reported TestWell Inventory scores. Participants who drink five or more drinks per week had the lowest mean scores in the following subscales: (a) Physical Fitness and Nutrition, (b) Medical Self-Care, (c) Environmental Wellness, (d) Social Awareness, (e) Sexuality and Emotional Awareness, and (f) Spiritual and Values. Further, significant differences were discovered in null hypotheses regarding gender, GPA, ACT scores, usage of the university’s recreation center, and consumption of alcohol per week. There was no significant relationship between participants’ ages, ethnicities, and the colleges in which participants were enrolled and their TestWell scores measured by the TestWell Inventory.

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