University of Rochester

Survey of Student Well-Being Kicks Off Today

February 1, 2007

All undergraduate students over 18 years old at the University of Rochester will find a survey in their e-mail inboxes today that will ask questions about their health, lifestyle, and how they deal with everyday stressors.

The Survey of Student Well-Being, which is being administered on the River Campus as part of the University of Rochester Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide, will give researchers a better sense of how students cope with the pressures of college life and what helps them live healthier and happier lives.

Kerry Knox, the lead researcher and associate professor of Psychiatry and Community and Preventive Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said the project will ultimately lead to changes in the way leaders, researchers, and staff members interact with students.

Knox, who is leading the multi-campus suicide prevention project, is working closely with five other universities: Cornell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia, Harvard, and Princeton. Representatives from all six universities began meeting in 2004 to discuss ways to better prepare administrators, educators, and mental health professionals against risk factors on college campuses and ensure that the right kind of protective measures are in place.

The survey results from all six universities, which will likely be compiled by May, can provide insight into the behavior and attitude of college students, which will help the researchers develop and implement more effective programming and intervention training.

Other components of the project include gatekeeper training for residential advisors, training of the University Counseling Center mental health professionals, and conducting focus groups with students.