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Browsing by Subject "well-being"

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  • Kämper, Ella (2023)
    The mental health of university students has been a concern worldwide for years, and the issues have been increasing gradually to this date. Factors related to increased stress and mental health issues among university students include poor academic performance. To succeed in studies, students need to acquire organized study skills, which are also connected to one’s psychological well-being. By increasing psychological flexibility, it is possible to learn skills of managing stress, thoughts, and emotions and thus enhance one’s own mental well-being. Psychological flexibility is the goal of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and refers to a skill to focus on the present moment and live in the pursuit of one’s own goals and values. The connection between psychological flexibility and well-being has been studied quite extensively with quantitative measures. However, there is less research about this connection in the context of higher education institutes and university students. Also, according to the knowledge of the researcher, there has been fewer studies on the impact mechanisms of the different sub-processes of psychological flexibility and ACT. More in-depth research with qualitative methods is also needed to gain better understanding about the phenomenon. In some studies, ACT-based interventions have been found to have a positive impact on university students’ psychological well-being and study skills, but more research is needed within this context. The study was conducted applying a mixed methods approach combining repeated measures ANOVA and inductive content analysis. The research group consisted of students who participated in the web-based course, Towards Better Well-being and Studying, during fall 2021 at the University of Helsinki, Finland. For the quantitative measurements, a control group was also used, consisting of students on the waiting list for the course. The research task of this study was to gain better understanding of the possible changes in the participants’ well-being and organized study skills during the course, as well as to examine, how the students attending the course have evaluated the effectiveness of the specific modules and tasks involved during the course. Quantitative results showed that the course had a statistically significant effect on participants' organized study skills, psychological flexibility, and emotional and psychological well-being. Comparing the results of students who participated in the course with those of the control group, whose measures remained mostly the same, confirms this finding about the effects of the course on well-being, organized study skills and psychological flexibility. The results of the qualitative part of the study were in line with these findings. Based on findings from inductive content analysis, the course’s different modules were perceived as useful, and the course had an impact on the well-being of most students as well as their organized study skills. Students’ responses displayed personal development and in-depth reflection both at an individual level and at a broader and societal level. The students felt that they had gained new insights and particularly many concrete tips on how to promote their own well-being and learning, which they will continue to use in the future.
  • Ruuska, Ronja (2023)
    This master’s thesis includes two sections: the present summarizing report and the article manuscript. The purpose of the study is to explore the benefits of an acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)-based intervention course to university students’ well-being, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The COVID-19 pandemic has decreased university students’ well-being and increased their risk of burnout. The declined state of student well-being calls for measures in exploring ways of promoting student well-being and preventing study-related burnout. The intervention course aimed to increase students’ psychological flexibility and organized studying skills, as means to positively impact their well-being and studying. A total of 189 participated in the study in the spring of 2021. Students’ risk of burnout was measured pre- and post-intervention, to statistically define whether students experienced that the course impacted their risk of burnout. To explore the course benefits in depth, students’ written reflective reports post-intervention were analyzed using abductive content analysis. The results were statistically compared according to the risk of burnout group assigned pre-intervention. The results showed that the intervention course led to a positive change in students' risk of burnout. The content analysis revealed seven main categories of benefits of the course: 1. improved general well-being, 2. improved self-knowledge, 3. increased psychological flexibility, 4. improved study practices and study motivation, 5. increased self-compassion, 6. gained peer-support, and 7. improved organized studying. These benefits were experienced by students regardless of their initial risk of burnout. The study highlights the potential of ACT-based intervention courses in improving the well-being and studying skills of university students, suggesting a need for further research on burnout prevention through such measures. The prospective publication channel for the research article manuscript is Research in Higher Education by Springer.
  • Kanerva, Katja (2014)
    The aim of my research is to understand work engagement and it's construction in the hospitality field. A central target of my interest is to observe how well employees in hotel and restaurant business feel and which factors generate work engagement and which factors prevent it's development among the employees in the field. Work engagement is a dimension of work well-being. It increases the well-being of employees and their coping at work. The meaning of work well-being emphasizes before anything in the work of front line employees, where the working conditions are challenging and working hours are varying. Work engagement's study is about what makes one enjoy his/her work and feel well. It can be seen as the antipode of burnout. The research data is formed of 24 scientific studies of work engagement and/or burnout in the context of hotel and restaurant field. As my research method I have used the systematic literature review. My research findings pointed out that previous research has been more concentrated in the antecedents and the consequences of work engagement rather than analyzing how engaged to work employees are. Main resources that influence on the construction of work engagement were personal traits and characteristics of work or workplace all together. These resources reduce the load of work related requirements and generate work engagement. Organizations need to invest into the work well-being of their employees by adding the supply and availability of resources. Although superiors can influence more on the characteristics of work and workplace they should not forget the personal traits of employees. It is important that superiors are aware of the factors relating to work engagement to be able to support these factors if possible.
  • Nurttila, Suvi (2014)
    In today's society it is desirable to be successful and continuously progressive. At the same time it is seen important to focus on one's well-being and seeking optimal experiences. In studying, the interaction between motivation and well-being as well as the importance of positive learning experiences is an actual entirety. Taking students conceptions of learning and knowledge into account brings in a richer perspective that has been less frequently studied. Conceptions of learning and knowledge, otherwise epistemologies, are crucial in governing student's ways of interpreting and evaluating information, as well as their view on the learning process. An important recent insight on the field of educational research is the growing idea that motivational, emotional and cognitive dimensions are not only intrinsically significant, but also in intense interaction with each other and with the learning environment. The aim of this study was to investigate what kinds of motivational factors and problems in well-being do novice students experience in their studies, and also what their epistemologies are like. The approach was person-oriented. Motivational factors were: experienced challenge and competence, thinking strategies and attributions, and study engagement. Problems in well-being were measured through emotional dimension (stress, exhaustion) on the one hand, and through motivational dimension (lack of interest, task avoidance) on the other. Epistemologies measured in this study were: collaborative knowledge building, reflective learning, metacognition, certainty of knowledge and practical value. The data (n=785) were collected in spring and autumn 2012 by using a questionnaire developed by RYM Indoor Environment project. The participants were first and second year students from Aalto university of Technology and four departments in University of Helsinki: Department of Teacher education, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Theology, and Faculty of Law. K-means cluster analysis was used for clustering students into homogenous groups that presented their experienced motivational factors. To see whether the groups differed in terms of problems in well-being or epistemologies, Oneway analysis of variance was conducted. Also potential differences in certain background variables were investigated by using crosstabs (gender, study discipline) and Kruskal-Wallis test (age). Three studying profiles were identified: 1) pessimistic, 2) bored, 3) engaged. Pessimistic students reported the lowest study engagement, optimism and competence and the highest task avoidance and problems in well-being. They valued certain knowledge the most. Bored students experienced the lowest challenge, quite low study engagement and moderate optimism, competence and lack of interest. They reported the lowest practical value of knowledge. Engaged students had the highest study engagement, optimism and competence, lowest task avoidance and the least problems in well-being. They valued collaborative knowledge building, reflective learning and metacognition the most. There were not found gender differences between the studying profiles. Instead, it turned out that pessimistic students were the youngest. When comparing different study disciplines, the results indicated that in the Department of Teacher education, as well as in the Faculties of Law and Theology, the largest section of participants was identified as engaged students. Among participants from Aalto university and the Department of Chemistry, the largest section was identified as pessimistic students. This study demonstrates the idea of the dynamic interplay between motivational, emotional and cognitive dimensions in studying. In conclusion, students personal motivational factors, well-being and epistemologies form unique entireties. It can be deduced on the basis of earlier research, that these entireties are of utmost importance regarding studying and can be either worthwhile or detrimental to it. In the future, more proof is needed about the concrete relations and potential effects on study success, for example, as supporting successful studying and graduating on schedule are topical politico-educational subjects in Finland. Also little is known about the relations between well-being and epistemologies. The results of this study could be utilized in developing and designing higher education.
  • Tuominen, Heta (2002)
    The aim of this study was to investigate the connection between teachers' burn-out and professional development. In addition, the study aimed at clarifying teachers' conceptions of the significance of in-service training on work-related well-being. The theoretical starting points of the study were based on a model of burn-out (Kalimo & Toppinen1997) and a model of teachers' professional development (Niemi 1989). Present study can be seen as an independent follow-up study for a working ability project called "Uudistumisen eväät" that was followed through in Kuopio. The study was carried out in two phases. First, the connection between teachers' burn-out and professional development was charted with the help of a quantitative survey study. 131 teachers participated in the survey. Some of them were from schools that participated in the working ability project and the remainder were from other schools in Kuopio. The questionnaire consisted of self-constructed instruments of burn-out and professional development. According to the results, burn-out and professional development were strongly correlated with each other. Burn-out was summed up in three factors: emotional exhaustion, feelings of depersonalization and low feelings of personal accomplishment. Professional development was summed up in four factors: personality and pedagogical skills, learning-orientation, social skills and confronting change. Personality and pedagogical skills and skills of confronting change were correlated strongest with burn-out and its symptoms. A teacher, who has not found his/her own personal way of acting as a teacher and who considers change as something negative, is more likely to become exhausted than a teacher, who has developed his/her own pedagogical identity and who regards change more positively. In the second phase of this study, teachers' conceptions of the significance of in-service training on well-being was investigated with the help of group interviews (n=12). According to the results, the importance of in-service training was significant on the well-being of teachers. It appeared that in-service training promotes well-being by providing teachers with motivation, professional development and the possibility of taking a break from teaching and cooperating with other teachers. It has to be based on teachers' own needs. It has to be offered to teachers frequently and early enough. If teachers are already exhausted, they will neither have enough resources to participate in training, nor will they have the strength to make good use of it in practice. Both professional development and well-being are becoming more and more essential now that society is changing rapidly and the demands set on teachers are growing. Professional development can promote well-being, but are teachers too exhausted to develop themselves? Professional development demands resources and teachers may regard it as a threat and an additional strain. When the demands are so high that teachers cannot cope with them, they are likely to suffer stress and see reduction of commitment to their work and its development as a means to survive. If teachers stop caring about their work and their own development, how can we expect them to promote pupils' learning and development? It should be considered in the planning and implementation of in-service training and in arranging teachers' working conditions, that teachers have enough time and resources to develop themselves.
  • Ketonen, Elina (2011)
    Previous studies indicate that positive learning experiences are related to academic achievement as well as to well-being. On the other hand, emotional and motivational problems in studying may pose a risk for both academic achievement and well-being. Thus, emotions and motivation have an increasing role in explaining university students learning and studying. The relations between emotions, motivation, study success and well-being have been less frequently studied. The aim of this study was to investigate what kind of academic emotions, motivational factors and problems in studying students experienced five days before an exam of an activating lecture course, and the relations among these factors as well as their relation to self-study time and study success. Furthermore, the effect of all these factors on well-being, flow experience and academic achievement was examined. The term academic emotion was defined as emotion experienced in academic settings and related to studying. In the present study the theoretical background to motivational factors was based on thinking strategies and attributions, flow experience and task value. Problems in studying were measured in terms of exhaustion, anxiety, stress, lack of interest, lack of self-regulation and procrastination. The data were collected in December 2009 in an activating educational psychology lecture course by using a questionnaire. The participants (n=107) were class and kindergarten teacher students from the University of Helsinki. Most of them were first year students. The course grades were also gathered. Correlations and stepwise regression analysis were carried out to find out the factors that were related to or explained study success. The clusters that presented students' problems in studying as well as thinking strategies and attributions, were found through hierarchical cluster analysis. K-means cluster analysis was used to form the final groups. One-way analysis of variance, Kruskal-Wallis test and crosstabs were conducted to see whether the students in different clusters varied in terms of study success, academic emotions, task value, flow, and background variables. The results indicated that academic emotions measured five days before the exam explained about 30 % of the variance of the course grade; exhaustion and interest positively, and anxiety negatively. In addition, interest as well as the self-study time best explained study success on the course. The participants were classified into three clusters according to their problems in studying as well as their thinking strategies and attributions: 1) ill-being, 2) carefree, and 3) committed and optimistic students. Ill-being students reported most negative emotions, achieved the worst grades, experienced anxiety rather than flow and were also the youngest. Carefree students, on the other hand, expressed the least negative emotions and spent the least time on self-studying, and like committed students, experienced flow. In addition, committed students reported positive emotions the most often and achieved the best grades on the course. In the future, more in-depth understanding how and why especially young first year students experience their studying hard is needed, because early state of the studies is shown to predict later study success.
  • Eskelinen, Riikka Elina (2013)
    The aim of this study was to investigate children's well-being by using the principles of child perspective research (Karlsson and Karimäki 2012). The purpose was to hear children's voice and listen to children's perspectives about their well-being in schoolyard. This study is part of the project "Children tell of their well-being - who listens?" TelLis, project number 1134911). The project is led by Liisa Karlsson. In the project the aim is to gain a new understanding of children's lived and experienced well-being by listening to children's narratives of well-being. I analysed 38 photographs and 38 stories that children had told by using the Storycrafting Method. The study was qualitative. Based on the results, it was found that following factors influence on children's well-being in schoolyard: possibility to act and play, cosy environment, friends, possibilities to influence, feeling of safety. The results show that following factors prevent children's well-being in schoolyard: restrictioning of play and action, untidy and unsuitable environment, problems in peer relationships, the lack of possibilities to influence, insecurity and dangerousness.
  • Hirvonen, Anna (2020)
    Tiivistelmä - Referat - Abstract The aim of this thesis is to study high school students´ experiences with school dog activity, its effects on their well-being and burnout prevention. The focus of this study is the students' views of dog assisted pedagogy. The theoretical part of the thesis addresses both animal assisted and dog-assisted activity. The definition of well being and how it is emphasized in the national curriculum of Finnish high schools are also covered in this section. We end the theoretical part by defining the term burnout and why is it considered an essential part of this study. This study is a case study and the material used in this study was gathered from one high school. Via skype meeting, five high school students were interviewed about their experiences of school dog activity.The results were analyzed based on the theoretical frame of the study and also based on content oriented analysis. School dogs have a clear connection to students' well-being and their strengths during burnout. The school dog activity received positive feedback from all interviewed students. According to the interviewees, school dogs helped them cope with burnout. Burnout was said to include social, physical and mental aspects. The interviewed students told that school dogs gave them support when they found themselves on the verge of a burnout. Dogs had a calming effect on students during burnout and they also raised positive feelings among students. School dogs were seen as an essential part of students' well-being. Working with school dogs reduced anxiety and evoked feelings of pleasure. School dogs also helped the students meet new people and interact with each other. According to the students, dogs had a calming effect on them and they also reduced stress- and anxiety-related symptoms. School dogs were shown to have many beneficial roles. For example, dogs were seen as friends, listeners and also therapists. Having a school dog around during break was shown to evoke positive feelings in students. The attitudes towards school dog activity were also positive among students' families. The interviewed students saw many future opportunities for the school dog activity and gave a lot of ideas on how to expand it. All the students considered the school dog activity as a success in their school.
  • Kääriä, Mira (2017)
    Objectives. The objective of this study was to develop a Easy to Read Survey of character strengths to be used with intensive special education students. With this survey and interviews this study examined the beliefs concerning strengths that the intensive special needs youth had. Theoretically this study is based on positive psychology and the VIA-philosophy of character strengths. The research done in the field of character strengths education in the context of intensive special education has been scarce. Assessment tools of character strengths suitable for Finnish intensive special education students have not been available. Character strengths education is one way to approach teaching intensive special education students focusing on their strong areas instead of their weaknesses. With this approach the learning environment of these students can be modified to better notice the student's individual qualities. By doing this, we can take another small step towards an inclusive school and society. Methods. This study utilized a mixed methods approach, and both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used. The first phase of the study included the modification of the survey of character strengths to answer to the needs of intensive special education students. In the second phase of the study the Easy to Read character strengths survey was piloted in an intensive special needs class. Eight youth aged 12-14 years participated in the piloting and interviews. One special needs class teacher and three classroom assistants that worked with the students were also asked to evaluate the character strengths of the eight students. In the qualitative analysis, the interview data was analysed using a narrative approach, and different types of beliefs concerning strengths were sought from the interview narratives. In the quantitative analysis, the data describing the youth's character strengths that was collected from three different sources (the survey, the adults' evaluation and the students' self-evaluation) was compared. Finally, the result of the narrative analysis and the quantitative analysis were combined, when the narrative belief types connection to the coherence of the results of the survey and the conformity of the different evaluations was examined. Results and conclusions. The analysis of the narratives found three types of beliefs concerning strengths. These types differed in how the youth saw the meaning of the character strengths in their lives, and what kind of situations the students thought the strengths were needed in. The quantitative analysis found, that when the beliefs were more personal, the different evaluations of the students' strengths were more consistent. Overall, the result of the study showed, that the Easy to Read survey of character strengths identified some of the signature strengths of the intensive special education youth. However, the modified and shortened survey is not equal to the original VIA-survey in accuracy. Nevertheless, the results of this study show that the Easy to Read survey of character strengths is a useful tool in assessing the character strengths of intensive special education youth.
  • Kopperi, Heini-Mari (2014)
    Targets. Lately more emphasis than ever before has been given to bringing forth and taking into account children’s perspective in matters that concern them. It is also purpose of this study to give the voice to children and shed light on their perspective. This study is a part of extensive early childhood education development and research project, Orientaatioprojekti, operated by Helsinki University (Department of Teacher Education), ten municipalities in Keski-Uusimaa area and Hämeenlinna. The research is related to the day care quality evaluation (spring 2012). The main interest of the study was to examine things and situations children told they found unpleasant in day care center, also in relation to child’s gender and age. To better understand the results, the narrations and the consistency of the answers as well as children’s general satisfaction towards the day care were also examined. Methods. The research participants were 573 children, ages ranging from 1 to 8. Parents collected the data by interviewing. Two closed and one open-ended questions were analysed in this research and those questions dealt with children’s general satisfaction in day care center and what do they found unpleasant there. Parents recorded the answers to the web form and the data was then transferred to Excel software. Answers of the closed questions were examined through basic descriptive statistics. The unpleasant things and situations in the open-ended question were analysed through qualitative content analysis. Additionally, the appearance of the answers was also analysed. Used methods there were mostly outlined by researcher herself but some features of discourse analyse were also utilized. Results and conclusions. Most of the children stated that they feel mainly comfortable in day care center. The children mentioned different types of unpleasant things and situations and those were explained in various ways. Above all the challenges in peer relationships were on children’s mind. The peer group pointed out significant but the interaction was not always trouble-free. It seems to be important for children to practice and develop their social skills. Besides of these answers many children found the nap time as a single daily routine to be unpleasant. The number of nap time mentions varied a lot between different sexes and ages. There were also some other differences between the answers of children of different sexes and ages. For example, relatively many of the youngest ones did not answer to the open question at all.
  • Vuokko, Anni (2018)
    Aim: The aim of this study was to reveal a multi-perspective meanings of craft, bring out feelings which craft making evokes for craft hobbyists and clarify if the craft making increases their well-being. There are very few researches available related to the meanings of craft and craft's impacts to the well-being. The aim of this study was to make the craft hobbyists voice heard and generally emphasize and bring out the importance of creative activity and hobbies. In addition, the aim was to find out in which kind of situations handicrafts have played a significant role in respondents' lives. Based on these thoughts the following two main questions were set for the study: 1) What kind of meanings the students of adult's basic arts education give to the crafts and craft making? 2) How do the handicrafts affect to the well-being of the students of adult's basic arts education? Method: The qualitative data was collected by using an open question from the students of adult's basic arts education in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area during spring 2017. Before sending out the open question via e-mail I presented the topics of my study both in the Basic and Postgraduate Studies group. The recipients of the open question were asked to write a free-form script with the title "I, Craft and well-being". Totally 12 responses were received to the writing request and each of them was at least one page long. I analysed the material separately according to the meaning and wellbeing experience. In the analysis of the meanings I utilized Anna Kouhia's (2012) reference frame of multi-perspectival meanings of crafts and other available theory related to the subject. After that, by utilizing preceding theories, I formed my own reference frame which supported further analysis of the material. As a result, I created my own reference frame of the meanings of the craft. When analysing the well-being I utilized Seligman's theoretical model of happiness (PERMA). Results and conclusions: Based on my study it can be noted that there are several meanings behind craft making. Meanings are very multiple, usually overlapping and sometimes they are even in conflicts with each other. For many people crafts are way to relax which produce happiness day after day and increase well-being. The meanings of crafts are linked tightly to the experiences of well-being. Especially social aspects were emphasized in both categories. In general, the presence of craft in different life situations is dependent on people personalities. Some people use crafts as an important way to relax in difficult life situations whereas other people in the same situation are willing to get rid of all extra issues. Even if sometimes the crafts might be relegated to the background in life, all respondents who participated to the study returned always back to the crafts which illustrates the meaning of crafts as the bringer of well-being as from the point of view of the meanings presented in the study.
  • Murto, Elisa (2022)
    Objectives. At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, a large part of teaching in higher education institutions was transferred to distance learning, which affected the lives of students in many ways. The aim of this study was to examine what kind of challenges Finnish university students experienced in their studies during the Covid-19 pandemic and distance learning in the fall of 2020. The connections of the perceived challenges to gender and to the start date of studies were also examined. This study aimed to form a deeper understanding of what kind of demands the Covid-19 pandemic caused for university students. Based on the demands, it was discussed what kind of resources students would need to support their studies and well-being. In this study the study demands-resources model was used as theoretical framework. Methods. The research data was gathered as a part of the research of the educational psychology research unit of the Faculty of Education, University of Helsinki. The sample consisted of university students (N=1264) aged 18–58, of whom 81% were women. The measures of the study were based on an open question regarding the challenges experienced by students in their studies. The data was analyzed by classifying the challenges appearing in the answers using qualitative methods. The connections of the perceived challenges to gender and to the start date of studies were also examined using cross-tabulation. The significance of the observed differences was tested with the χ² test. Results and conclusions. Thirteen different categories of challenges were identified from the data, which described different physical, social, emotional and cognitive challenges experienced by the students. The most common challenges reported by students were related to high workload, time management and organizational skills, as well as lack of social interaction and loneliness. The results showed differences in the perceived challenges according to the start date of the studies. The results also suggested gender differences, but these differences were not statistically significant. Based on the results, students would need social support which the university could provide, for example by enabling social integration, especially at the beginning of studies. In addition, students would need support for developing time management and organizational skills, as well as physical support, for example in the form of providing facilities suitable for studying.