Exploring student wellbeing in higher education

Prof Doc Thesis

Wornast, T. 2018. Exploring student wellbeing in higher education. Prof Doc Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Education
AuthorsWornast, T.
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Qualification nameEd.D

Wellbeing is consistently linked to student experiences or satisfaction within Higher Education (HE). Simultaneously, students’ health needs are becoming more complex and mental health issues more prevalent within the widening population. However, students’ lived experiences are missing from the evidence, creating a gap in what is understood about how students experience their wellbeing. This research used a needs assessment survey of 105 students to inform a phenomenological based methodology on student wellbeing in HE. The research was designed to explore their individual inside and outside contexts. Drawings and interviews from six undergraduate students, were utilised to uncover a deeper understanding of their lived experiences and their wellbeing. In addition, students described what influenced it, how they maintained it, and how they made sense of their experiences.
The students described their wellbeing as personal, contextually based and separate but connected, to health and its dimensions. They highlighted influences affecting their wellbeing including their personality, identity and sense of self; their future goals, people and relationships; and their sense of belonging and community, roles and responsibilities, money and the division of their time and work. These influences are interconnected and linked to their ability to make sense of their experiences and construct a sense of wellbeing. Several students’ in-depth perspectives illustrated that wellbeing might not always be positive, and may comprise of both hedonistic and eudemonic theories of wellbeing, and salutogenic ideas of being human. The findings have been represented within a theoretical framework adapted from Engestrom’s (2001) CHAT Theory, Berger and Luckman’s (1989) Social construct of reality and Kelly’s (1963) Personal Construct Theory. As part of my research a prism and matrix of wellbeing was developed. This enables the findings to be presented in a visual mode with finite detail, allowing insight into wellbeing as it is experienced by students in HE.

KeywordsStudent wellbeing; higher education; lived experiences; mental health
File Access Level
Supplemental file
File Access Level
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Nov 2019
Permalink -


Download files

Wornast EdD.pdf
File access level: Open

  • 466
    total views
  • 1321
    total downloads
  • 1
    views this month
  • 20
    downloads this month

Export as