FSD3616 University Student Health and Well-being Survey 2021

The dataset is (C) available for research only (including Master's, doctoral and Polytechnic/University of Applied Sciences Master's theses). The dataset may not be used for teaching, study (e.g. seminar papers, essays) or other theses (Bachelor's theses or equivalent).

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  • Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare


COVID-19, access to health services, alcohol use, dental health, diet and exercise, dietary habits, exercise (physical activity), health services, health status, mental disorders, sexual behaviour, sexual health, smoking, students (college), substance use, symptoms


This national survey examined the health and health-related behaviour of university and university of applied sciences (polytechnic) students in Finland. Questions covered, among other topics, physical, mental and dental health, health-related behaviour, use of health services, and satisfaction with health services. Factors related to the ability to study and well-being, such as social relationships and income, were also examined. The survey also included questions on the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing at the time. The study was funded by the Social Insurance Institution, the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.

General state of health was charted with a number of questions relating to long-term illnesses, disabilities or disorders, and current well-being in general. The respondents were asked if they had suffered from a variety of symptoms in the previous month. Birth control methods used by the respondent and her/his partner within the previous month were surveyed. Some questions covered the respondents' weight, height, and attitude toward food. Psychological or social symptoms causing problems were investigated. Psychosocial health was further studied using items of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Use of healthcare services by different types of service providers and satisfaction with the services of the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) were surveyed, along with reasons for using the services of other healthcare service providers.

Time spent sitting during the day as well as engagement in sporting activities and less vigorous physical activities were surveyed. Eating habits were investigated with a number of questions, for instance, asking whether the respondents ate at student restaurants, what diet they followed, on how many days per week they ate certain meals or snacks (e.g. breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner), and the consumption of fruit and vegetables. The respondents were also asked how often they brushed or flossed their teeth and used toothpaste or xylitol products, and whether they had problems with teeth grinding, facial pain or jaw locking.

Health-related behaviour was further studied by asking the respondents about their use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco products (amount, frequency), as well as internet use and gambling. Drinking habits were further charted using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Internet use was examined with questions regarding the purposes for which respondents used the internet, and if it had caused problems with their circadian rhythm, studying or relationships. Questions also covered gambling and possible problems caused by it.

The survey also studied interpersonal relationships and financial circumstances. The respondents were asked about their household composition and living arrangements, partnerships, sexual orientation, use of contraception, bullying experienced during university studies, whether they felt lonely or part of a group, and whether they had someone close to them with whom they could discuss their affairs. The respondents were asked to evaluate their financial situation and how well they had managed financially over the previous 12 months. The respondents' participation in paid work during the academic year was also surveyed, and they were asked how working had affected their studies.

Views on family life were examined with questions on whether the respondents would like to have children in the future and when, and if not at the moment, why (e.g. their studies not being finished, being too young, financial situation, wanting to pursue a career). Those respondents who already had children were asked about how having a child had impacted their life (e.g. improvement in relationship with spouse, financial situation worsened, progressing with studies became harder).

The impact of the COVID-19 epidemic was surveyed with questions on how the epidemic or the subsequent restrictive measures had affected the respondents' studies, whether the pandemic had negatively affected the respondents' financial situation, and whether the pandemic or the subsequent restrictive measures had affected certain areas of the respondents' everyday lives (e.g. substance use, sleeping difficulties, keeping in touch with friends and relatives, contact with fellow students, feeling optimistic about the future).

Indicator variables created by the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare and based on some original survey variables are included in the data. Some indicators are based on the following measurements: General Health Questionnaire 12 (GHQ-12), Mental Health Inventory 5 (MHI-5), SCOFF = eating disorder risk, Body Mass Index (BMI), Compulsive Internet Use Scale 5 (CIUS-5), Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Concise (AUDIT-C), and Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-1k = binge drinking (AUDIT-1k).

Background variables included the respondent's age, gender, field of study, height, weight, whether they attended a university or a university of applied sciences, and the year the respondent started their studies.

Study description in machine readable DDI-C 2.5 format

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