, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 221-234

Perceived Quality of Life and Self-Rated Health among First-Year University Students

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Abstract

This study compares health status and qualityof life assessments of first-year universitystudents with those of their same-age workingcounterparts. Subjects and materials for eachgroup were gathered in 1999 from twocross-sectional data sets from the Swedishregion of Östergötland, covering malesand females aged 20–34 years. Subjects'perceived quality of life (QoL) and self-ratedhealth (SRH) were assessed on a 10-point scale(Ladder scale) and a five-point scale,respectively. Gender-based comparison revealedthat, for both males and females, first-yearuniversity students' average perceived QoL waslower than that of their working counterparts(p < 0.0001 in all instances). A higherproportion of students than expected ratedtheir health as ``average'' or as ``low''(p < 0.0001). Perceived QoL was significantlycorrelated with SRH in both groups. Differencesin perceived QoL and SRH exist between studentsand their full-time working peers, and thedeterminants of these differences deservesgreater attention. Knowledge of thedeterminants of SRH and perceived QoL amonguniversity students might then be translatedinto sound and effective public-health practiceand intervention programs.