FSD2608 University Student Health Survey 2008

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  • Kunttu, Kristina (Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS))
  • Huttunen, Teppo (Oy 4Pharma Ltd)


academic achievement, alcohol use, bullying, dental health, diet and exercise, dietary habits, drinking behaviour, drug use, employment, gambling, harassment, health, health services, health status, internet use, interpersonal relations, mental health, physical activities, sexual behaviour, sexual health, sleep, students (college), travel


The national survey focused on the health and health-related behaviour of university and university of applied science (polytechnic) students in Finland. Questions covered physical, mental and sexual health, health behaviour, physical activity, social interaction, ability to study, study environment, bullying, the use of and satisfaction with student health services, and travel abroad.

General state of health was charted with a number of questions relating to long-term illnesses, disabilities or disorders, medicines used, sleeping habits, and the respondents' weight, height and waistline. Eating habits and disorders were also investigated as well as other physical, psychological or social symptoms causing problems. Psychosocial health was further studied using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12).

Some questions studied the respondent's gambling and internet use habits and possible problems caused by them. Sporting activities, less vigorous exercise habits, and use of performance enhanching substances were surveyed. Eating habits were investigated with a number of questions, for instance, relating to following a special diet, and the consumption of milk, bread or fruit, pizza, chips etc. The respondents were also asked how often they brush or floss their teeth and use toothpaste or xylitol products.

Health-related behaviour was further studied by asking the respondents about their smoking habits, and the use of drugs and alcohol (amount, frequency). Drinking habits were charted by using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT).

One theme pertained to the respondents' studies. They were asked how many years they had been enrolled as 'present' for current studies, credits earned, estimated graduation year, whether the study was full-time or part-time, study success, confidence of having chosen the right field of study, and in what kind of study-related situations they experienced emotional tension. Views were probed on the sufficiency of study guidance and advice provided by the institution. Perceptions of the workload, study engagement, meaningfulness of studying and study stress were investigated. The respondents were also asked to evaluate their financial situation. One question covered participation in paid work and working hours a week.

The survey also investigated interpersonal interaction. The respondents were asked about their household composition and living arrangements, marital status and partnerships, number of children, how many children they wanted, voluntary/civic activities, whether they felt lonely or part of a group, and whether they had someone close to them with whom they could discuss their affairs.

Use of and satisfaction with health services was studied with a few questions relating how satisfied the repondents had been the last time they had used the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) services, reason for using other, non-FSHS health services, health professionals visited during the past 12 months and where, and what type of guidance they would like in certain issues (e.g. stress or weight management, alcohol use, smoking cessation).

Some questions charted whether the respondents had been subjected to bullying at school, how often and to what kind of bullying, and whether they had been subjected to bullying or discrimination during their university studies or had themselves bullied or discriminated against others.

Sexual health questions covered sexual orientation, age when had first sexual intercourse, number of intercourses during the past month, chlamydia, use of contraception or erection enhancement medication, conceptions of at what age a woman's chances to become pregnant diminish. Problems with acne, asthma, atopic eczema, allergies and treatments used were also surveyed.

Finally, the respondents were asked about their travel abroad, exceeding 10 days, during the past 12 months: destination, purpose of travel, vaccinations taken, travel insurance, illnesses and symptoms during travel, and being subjected to crime during travel.

Background variables included the respondent's age, gender, location of the university/polytechnic, and field of study.

The study was funded by the research and development fund of the Finnish Student Health Service.

Study description in machine readable DDI-C 2.5 format

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