The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 22

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

. . . further research is needed to
better understand how professional
staff and student leaders might
develop and access specific
interventions to increase well-being.

programming are remarkable (Loundsbury
et al., 2009; Park & Peterson, 2009). For
example, hopeful journaling and zest-motivated sleep hygiene have the potential to increase
well-being and improve collegiate productivity.
A residence hall program that involves students writing about their hopes for final exams
may bolster the character strength of hope
and subsequently reduce anxiety and promote
self-efficacy. Similarly, resident assistants in
housing communities that include first-year
students may consider incorporating the students' strong sense of curiosity into activities,
given that feelings of homesickness and inadequacy can be common in this demographic. In
light of these promising possibilities, further
research is needed to better understand how
professional staff and student leaders might
develop and access specific interventions to increase well-being. Proactive prevention efforts
and holistic student development are the cornerstones of student affairs and residence life.
Encouraging students to utilize their strengths
to their fullest can lower distress, improve
well-being, and cultivate community.

Social Group Participation and Well-Being
In addition to character strengths, we hypothesized that social group participation may relate
to well-being. We found this link significant.
22

Our measure of social group participation
created a sum measure of social groups that
the participant was actively involved with at the
time of the study. These groups included social
clubs or organizations, athletic teams (both
NCAA and intramurals), community organizations, student government, and spiritual or
religious organizations. Being part of a group
requires a commitment for long-term social
engagement that may allow an individual to
feel more connected to others and may cultivate identity development through connection
to a theme-based community (Carpenter-Song
et al., 2012). Therefore, it is not surprising that
social group participation was related to higher
levels of subjective well-being.
Many professionals and paraprofessionals
encourage students, particularly those new to
the university, to get involved in activities on the
basis that this promotes retention (e.g., Astin,
1993). The current study indicates that initiatives to involve students in groups throughout
their tenure in college may be associated with
benefits well beyond traditional metrics of retention, completion, and post-graduation marketability. If this is true, student-facing staff
on campus may benefit from supporting the
efforts of residence life staff and taking a more
active, integrated role in promoting social
involvement among students. For example,
residence hall programming might include
participation and representation from college
counseling centers, diversity offices, and other
engagement-oriented departments. Such collaborations may lead to more effective referrals
to on-campus groups and increased familiarity with mental health and student support
services. Similarly, professionals supervising
student leaders such as hall directors might

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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