31.4 Impact of a Positive Psychology Course on Undergraduate Well-Being and Academic Success [Meeting Abstract]
Objectives: Undergraduate college courses on well-being have proliferated in the United States, but there are few data examining whether they have an impact on student well-being or mental health. This study examined the impact of such a course on students' well-being and grade point average (GPA) compared to students who completed a psychology course on psychopathology.
Method(s): Participants were 152 undergraduates enrolled in the "Science of Happiness" (SOH), which focuses on well-being and mental health challenges (n = 64), and "Child and Adolescent Psychopathology" (CAP), a psychology course (n = 88). Well-being measures were collected using validated questionnaires (PERMA Profiler [PP], Satisfaction with Life Scale [SWLS]) at the beginning of the semester and at the completion of the semester. Both t tests and linear regression examined the effect of the courses on the outcomes.
Result(s): At baseline, there were no statistically significant differences in well-being or grades between the 2 groups. Examining the pre/post-SOH changes, we found statistically significant improvements on the SWLS (M = 1.28; SD = 4.85; t63 = 2.11; p < 0.04) and in GPA (M = 0.07; SD = 0.17; t72 = 3.47; p < 0.001). The improvement in the PP Well-being was not significant for either SOH or CAP but trended positive for SOH (M = 0.05) and negative for CAP (M = -0.05). In CAP, there was no statistically significant improvement in SWLS, but GPA change was statistically significant (M = 0.04; SD = 0.14; t96 = 2.99; p < 0.004). When we examined the pre-/postdifferences between the 2 groups, we found no statistical significance for SWLS or GPA.
Conclusion(s): Given the prevalence of mental health challenges in college students and the need for effective, large-scale prevention interventions for this population, courses on well-being are a strategy that warrant further exploration. PRE, COLST, SC