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Appl Res Qual Life. 2017;12(4):867-884. doi: 10.1007/s11482-016-9493-4. Epub 2016 Oct 27.

A 4-year Longitudinal Study of Well-being of Chinese University Students in Hong Kong.

Shek DTL1,2,3,4,5, Yu L1, Wu FKY1, Zhu X1, Chan KHY1.

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Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China.
Centre for Innovative Programmes for Adolescents and Families, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China.
Department of Social Work, East China Normal University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.
Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau, Macau, People's Republic of China.
Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Kentucky Children's Hospital, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY USA.


The present longitudinal study explored the development of personal well-being in university students over 4 years. Personal well-being was indexed by multiple indicators including life satisfaction, positive youth development qualities, and university engagement. A sample of 434 students enrolled in the new 4-year undergraduate program in one university in Hong Kong was successfully followed up for 4 years since they started their university study in 2012-2013 academic year. Students completed an online survey on a yearly basis and four waves of data were collected. Results revealed significant changes in most well-being indicators over time with three main observations. First, students' life satisfaction remained at a stable level during 4 years. Second, most students' self-reported positive youth development competencies followed a U-shaped developmental trajectory, which was characterised by a dip in the second year and a continuous rebound in the third year and fourth year. Third, students' university engagement in different aspects showed significant increments in the third and fourth year of university study. The findings underscore the disparate developmental patterns of different aspects of student well-being during university study. This suggests that there is a need to take into account students' developmental characteristics and related challenges in different stages of university life when develop and implement programs in university to promote student well-being.


Chinese students; Competence; Engagement; Life satisfaction; Positive youth development; Undergraduate study

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