The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 29

A FEELING OF CONNECTION WITH A PHYSICAL SETTING
can have important psychological consequences for
occupants. Although research has begun to explore how
the design of student housing can improve the experiences
of undergraduates, the students themselves have the
capacity to adapt their environments in ways that better
reflect their own values, interests, and personalities. This
empirical study tests the extent to which a sense of place
identity related to one's housing predicts positive mental
health. Controlling for demographic and stable personality
traits, this analysis found that place identity was positively
associated with psychological well-being (but not social
or emotional well-being). Moreover, a mediation analysis
revealed that this association can be explained by the
additive effects of more frequent positive affect, a greater
sense of autonomy, and stronger self-regulatory ability.
These findings lend support to the idea that adaptable
housing, wherein students customize and personalize their
living spaces, is associated with multiple psychological
benefits.
Note: Data were collected while the author was affiliated with
Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

. . . many
researchers and
practitioners argue
that responses to
the mental health
crisis should not
be focused simply
on the treatment
of disorders. . . .
In other words,
a lack of mental
illness does not
imply the presence
of mental health,

Over the last decade, there has been growing public concern about
the mental health crisis at American colleges and universities (e.g.,
Moore, 2018; " There Is a Mental-Health Crisis on Campus, " 2019).
This concern is justified, as rates of undergraduate mental health
problems have been increasing over the last several decades (American Psychological Association, 2013; Bland et al., 2012; Watkins et
al., 2012). Students report many sources of stress, including academic difficulties, finances, sleep deprivation, and family problems
(Beiter et al., 2015), which can lead to more serious mental health
disorders (Beiter et al., 2015; Watkins et al., 2012) and a number
of negative academic outcomes, such as attrition and poor class
performance (Ahrberg et al., 2012; Andrews & Wilding, 2004;
Struthers et al., 2000). In light of these statistics, many colleges and

so treatment
alone will never
be successful in
creating a happy
and fulfilled
population.

V O L U M E 4 7 , NO. 1 * 2 0 2 0

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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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