oa Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences - Happiness among first-year students at a comprehensive tertiary institution - an exploratory study



The 1970s saw a significant increase in the volume of research on individuals' subjective experience of well-being. The subjective well-being of university students has received less attention, however. Student well-being is important, given the widespread concern over the high dropout rates at institutions of higher learning in South Africa (Council of Higher Education, 2013; Van Zyl, 2010). The paper adds to the existing body of literature through an exposition on the possible influence of variables forthcoming from the literature, on the overall subjective well-being of first-year economics students at a comprehensive university. Variables that displayed a significant and positive contribution to subjective well-being were first-year and extended-degree students, the university being the institution of choice, feeling at home, knowing exactly how the university functions, and watching or participating in sport. Variables that were found to be significant with a negative contribution to subjective well-being levels were: worries about tests, studying less than 10 hours per week and, interestingly, living on campus.


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