Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Zarrina Azizova

Second Advisor

Radomir Mitic


Wellness, persistence, and retention in higher education have a common goal of student success. Colleges and universities explore various methods to help students succeed and continue towards degree completion. Most of the research has focused on traditional predictors (e.g., high school GPA, ACT/SAT scores) of persistence and success. There is limited research regarding the relationship among student persistence, retention, academic achievement, and a holistic approach to wellness. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between student wellness and student success outcomes at a community college. Wellness is a multidimensional and active behavioral process that includes personal choices concerning physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being. This quantitative study was conducted at a rural community college. A sample of 139 students in their first year of their academic program completed the Body-Mind-Spirit Wellness Behavior and Characteristic Inventory (BMS-WBCI) to determine their wellness behaviors relating to six dimensions of wellness. They were also asked to indicate their intent to return for year two of their program. Institutional data, persistence (fall to spring semester) and first-semester GPA, were also collected for this sample of students. The results indicated a positive relationship between the body sub-scale (physical wellness) and first-semester GPA. Due to a lack of variance within the institutional measure of persistence and students’ intent to return for year two, statistical relationships were not tested on these two outcome variables. The final product of this study includes a white paper that highlights the issue of student wellness in higher education and provides recommendations for community colleges to implement to help increase student wellness and ultimately success. Keywords: academic achievement, persistence, retention, wellness, well-being