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Design and Depression
RQ3. Does students' satisfaction with their private residential spaces, residential
hall social spaces, and campus social spaces influence their self-reported
depressive symptoms, when controlling for life satisfaction?
The intent of the third research question is to isolate specific spaces within the living-learning
neighborhood to understand if environmental satisfaction with varying
scales of the built environment is more impactful on student mental well-being.
METHOD
This study employed a comparative cross-sectional research design, meaning that
the same survey instrument was deployed in a target population at two different time
points with two different cohorts. Because we are interested in understanding the
impact that the design of campus housing has on first-year college students, we administered
the survey to students living in the old residential facilities and again one
year later to a different set of first-year students residing in the new living-learning
neighborhood. Data were collected through online surveys conducted one year apart.
Data collection for residents in the old residential facilities (Cohort 1) took place in July
2020. Data for residents in the new neighborhood (Cohort 2) were collected in July
of 2021. Since the pandemic began in the U.S. in March 2020, Cohort 1 lived in the
old residential facilities for two quarters before temporarily moving off campus due to
state-mandated lockdowns. Cohort 2 lived in the new neighborhood for three academic
quarters with strict physical distancing guidelines in place before taking the survey.
Context of the Study
The undergraduate residents in Cohort 1 were housed on campus in either apartments
or suite-style residence halls that collectively housed 1,597 first-year and sophomore
students and were located on the eastern edge of campus in a strictly residential community.
The suite-style halls were laid out in a cluster of two-story buildings. Each floor
of the building has two suites, each consisting of five rooms, and a shared common
room and bathroom on each floor (see Figure 2, page 19). The on-campus apartments
offer three different layouts that include a kitchen, outdoor patio, dining room, living
room, and a mix of bedroom options (see Figure 3, page 19).
The residents in Cohort 2 were housed in the new living-learning neighborhood
which had been designed with the intention of enhancing student health and well-being,
fostering social connection, and instilling environmental resilience. This neighborhood
is an academic mixed-use design consisting of 2,048 beds, administrative and
faculty offices, classrooms, dining, retail, public art, and a central green quad. Some
suite-style halls have an innovative stacked double-floor configuration with a central
stair connecting a shared common room with double rooms around the perimeter (see
Figure 4, page 20).
The residential environment has a direct impact on students'
level of wellness, and the more they identify with their housing,
the greater their psychological well-being will be.
18 The Journal of College and University Student Housing

Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 50, No. 2

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