Date of Award

Spring 2008

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


In order to enter post-secondary education, a student must have demonstrated the ability to do reasonably well in an academic environment. Yet, many students end up stopping out or even dropping out of college, and oftentimes it is due to academic underachievement. There are many reasons why students do not succeed and one of those reasons is health.

The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between physical health, mental health, stressors, sleep, and substance use and abuse variables and academic performance in a sample of 503 students from a small private liberal arts college in the Midwest. The reason for examining the relationship of these health variables was to determine if the presence or absence of various health factors predicted grade point average (GPA). Additionally, gender and year in school were examined to determine whether health indicators and GPA were different between males and females and by year in school.

Multiple regression analysis, using the enter method, was employed to assess the degree each health grouping predicted (GPA). The relationships that were statistically significant included mental and physical health (p<.01) accounting for 2.2% of the variance of GPA; substance use factors (p<.001) accounting for 4.3% of the variance of GPA; physical health factors (p<.001) accounting for 8.3% of the variance in GPA; and stressors (p<.001) accounting for 23.5% of the variance in GPA. Several health items within each grouping were statistically significantly related to GPA; however, the most compelling finding on a statistical and practical level was that of stressors.

This information was important for academic communities to gain a better understanding of the relationship between student health and academic achievement for the explicit purpose of developing and implementing programs to prevent students from engaging in health risk behaviors and to build a campus environment that more fully supports student well-being, and subsequently, student achievement.