Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 50, No. 2 - 24

Design and Depression
Measures
This research study is primarily focused on investigating relationships between students'
mental well-being and satisfaction with their physical on-campus residential environments.
All assessments were in the Likert scale format. Not all variables assessed
on the cohort surveys were analyzed. Only the variables relevant to the aims of this
study are described below.
Depression. The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D) is
used to assess students' levels of self-reported depressive symptoms and to operationalize
their mental well-being (Radloff, 1977). Participants were asked to report how
often they felt what is described in each statement. CES-D has 10 items, and each provides
four possible responses that were later coded numerically (1 = rarely or none of the
time; 2 = some or a little of the time; 3 = moderately or much of the time; 4 = most or almost
all the time). An example item of the scale is " I was bothered by things that usually
don't bother me. " CES-D has been validated in the college student population (Yen et
al., 2000) and is widely used to assess depression in non-clinical populations.
Life satisfaction. The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) was used to assess life
satisfaction, a global and stable construct of how satisfied a person is with their life
as a whole (Pavot et al., 1991). Participants were prompted to respond to five items on
a 1-5 agreement scale. An example item of the scale is " If I could live my life over, I
would change almost nothing. " In the current study, life satisfaction was regarded as a
covariate in the analyses when depression was the response variable. This is because
life satisfaction is a stable representation of happiness, and controlling for its influence
on self-reported depressive symptoms improves model accuracy.
Environmental satisfaction. A single item was created to measure students' satisfaction
with their physical residential spaces for each of the three functional areas
(private residential spaces, residential hall social spaces, and campus social spaces). A
shared lead-in ( " Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you . . . " ) was followed by a description
of the area to complete the question: " with the physical environment of social
areas in academic buildings, " " with the physical environment of where you socialize
in your residential space (e.g., shared kitchen, student lounge), " or " with the physical
environment of where you live (e.g., your room, suite, apartment). " Responses were
in a 7-point Likert format with responses ranging from very dissatisfied to very satisfied,
with neutral in the middle.
ANALYSIS
To investigate if residing in a living-learning neighborhood designed to promote student
health and well-being reduces the psychological strains of transitioning into college,
the effect of cohort (two levels: Cohort 1 versus Cohort 2) on self-reported depressive
symptoms was tested with an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), with self-reported
life satisfaction as the covariate. To understand if living in the new neighborhood could
reduce the gender gap in first-year college students' psychological well-being, a moderated
regression with interaction effects was deployed with gender as the moderator
Volume 50, No. 2 * 2024 21

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

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