The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 14

Julie M. Koch * Lindsay Murrell * Douglas Knutson * Dillon J. Federici

able elements: positive emotion, engagement,
relationships, meaning and purpose, and accomplishment (Seligman, 2011). These five elements and their subjective nature offer a more
holistic perspective of an individual's well-being. For example, poor mental health has been
correlated with poor academic performance
(Eisenberg et al., 2009), and students might
be more likely to notice changes in their academic performance than they are to recognize
symptoms of psychological distress for what
they are. In this way, subjective well-being may
include a more well-rounded understanding
of individual functioning. Research exploring
the relationship between character strengths
and subjective well-being suggests correlations
between greater subjective well-being and the
character strengths of love, hope, zest, and curiosity (Park et al., 2004; Rashid et al., 2013).

Social Group Participation
Student involvement has been significantly
correlated with positive psychological wellbeing and health-related behaviors (Bowman,
2010; Kilgo et al., 2016). Although participating in social activities requires an investment
of time and energy (Braxton et al., 2004), research (e.g., Bowman, 2010) indicates that
social integration facilitates psychological wellbeing in addition to having positive effects on
common university metrics such as retention
(Astin, 1993, 2016). Students seem aware of
these benefits and appear to consider social
group participation as a defining feature of the
campus community; in one study, 70 percent
of college students reported that participating
in social activities in college is more important
than academics (Grigsby, 2009). Colleges and
universities provide students with many different organizations, clubs, and social gatherings
14

to fit different aspects of their identities (e.g.,
major-based residential communities, racial/
ethnic cultural groups, LGBTQ-related organizations, religious/faith-based organizations,
athletic clubs). Additionally, this construct
may be of interest to professionals and student
leaders in residence life promoting cocurricular activities or offering residential programming to meet students' needs.

. . . consideration of proactive
mental health components enables
more efficient use of resources;
these features can be integrated into
programming that already occurs
in residence halls without requiring
extensive training or overburdening
staff with additional responsibilities.

RATIONALE
In this study, we sought to explore possible
relationships between the four key character
strengths-love, hope, zest, and curiosity-
and subjective well-being and social group
participation in order to potentially improve
the ways in which residence life departments
and staff approach efforts to support students'
mental and emotional well-being. In earlier
studies, the character strengths of love, hope,
zest, and curiosity were the most highly correlated with subjective well-being (Park et al.,

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

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