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Health‐related barriers to learning among graduate students

William Kernan (Department of Public Health, William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey, USA and Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Columbia University Teachers College, New York, New York, USA)
Jane Bogart (Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Columbia University Teachers College, New York, New York, USA and Student Health Service, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA)
Mary E. Wheat (Student Health Service, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA and Department of Internal Medicine, New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York, USA)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 30 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report the perceived impact of various health concerns on the academic performance of health sciences graduate students.

Design/methodology/approach

The American College Health Association's National College Health Assessment (ACHA‐NCHA), a 58‐item anonymous survey, was distributed to all graduate health science students during a five‐week period in the spring semester.

Findings

Students (n=1,355) were most likely to report a negative perceived academic impact related to psychosocial concerns such as stress, depression/anxiety, and relationship problems. The students' most pressing felt concerns were upper respiratory infections, stress, concerns about troubled loved ones and sleep difficulties. Clinical graduate students (n=712) were significantly more likely to report negative academic impacts related to upper respiratory infections (p=0.001), concern about a troubled friend or family member (p=0.001), sleep difficulties (p=0.005), relationship difficulties (p=0.030), and internet use/computer games (p=0.015) than non‐clinical graduate students. However, the magnitude of those differences was small.

Practical implications

This paper adds to one's knowledge of student health concerns, which may help to address health‐related barriers to learning.

Originality/value

This paper presents findings that further explicate the reciprocal relationship between student health and learning by suggesting methodology to identify priority health issues among a graduate student population. Findings from this study of over 20 different health concerns indicate that the priority health concerns of graduate health science students are primarily psychological and psychosocial health issues.

Keywords

Citation

Kernan, W., Bogart, J. and Wheat, M.E. (2011), "Health‐related barriers to learning among graduate students", Health Education, Vol. 111 No. 5, pp. 425-445. https://doi.org/10.1108/09654281111161248

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited