Higher Education Ph.D. Dissertations


Student Wellness: Tracking Demographic Characteristics, Health Risk Traits, and Health Information of Students Over a 16 Year Period

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Robert DeBard (Advisor)


This study explored student wellness over a sixteen-year period from 1989 to 2005 on the following six health traits; cholesterol, diastolic blood pressure, systolic blood pressure, body composition, aerobic capacity, and health risk age. Further, this study collapsed the data set into two generational groups: Thirteeners or Generation X based on birth years including 1981 and before and Millennials with birth years including 1982 and older. This study investigated the difference among generational group, age group, and gender. Astin's (I-E-O) Input- Environment-Outcome Model was utilized as the conceptual and empirical framework, however, the data focused on the student input of the six health risk traits to question current wellness assessment practices and to inform higher education professionals in the field of student wellness of the importance of the environment and outcome components in Astin's I-E-O model. The Fitwell Center at Bowling Green State University provided access to multiple student databases from 1989 to 2005. The individual years of data were merged into one database to include 1957 students for this study. The students were characterized as predominately female (71%). The age distribution included participants ranging from 18-19 years of age (20%), 20-21 years of age (41%), 22-23 years of age (32%), and 24-25 years of age (7%). The year group distribution included 77% in Generation X or the Thirteenth Generation and 23% in the Millennial Generation. National norms from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) established a comparative value for the college student age group of 18-25 years of age on the six health risk traits: cholesterol, body composition, diastolic blood pressure, systolic blood pressure, aerobic capacity, and health risk age. iii The results indicated that Millennial students have higher reported levels of blood pressure but were similar on the other variables. Further insight on gender, age group, and year group were also important in the study of generational characteristics and health traits. This study supported previous literature findings that only some key health traits are going in the wrong direction and supports further research on the Thirteenth Generation to the current Millennial Generation.