Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 4-20-2015


Ford, S.B. (2015). Getting to the heart of our students: First-year students and their wellness. (Master's thesis). University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Educational Administration, Under the Supervision of Professor Debra Mullen. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Shannon B. Ford


Wellness is a topic everyone is talking about these days. While a keyword among conversations, wellness within literature is not broken down but simply a theme. Therefore, I wanted to gain a better understanding of how students across college campuses view and perceive their personal wellness. To do this, I conducted a phenomenological mixed methods study, which explored how first-year students perceive wellness.

Through administering the 36-question Perceived Wellness Inventory survey (Adams, Bezner & Steinhardt, 1997) and conducting a focus group, three themes emerged: behaviors versus knowledge, feelings, and support. These three themes supported existent wellness literature and added areas for improvement: understanding behavior versus knowledge of wellness and understanding the value in the experiences students are having across campus. Implications for practice and recommendations for future research were provided from the findings, including: exploring how students make decisions in terms of their wellness.

Adviser: Debra Mullen