Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




David W. Leslie


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between undergraduate students' mental health and their engagement in the educational experience. The researcher identified traditionally-aged college students (18-23) who were flourishing and distinguished them from students who were moderately mentally healthy and/or languishing according to Keyes' (2002) continuum of mental health model. Mental health was the dependent variable. Student involvement was defined as the extent to which students engage in empirically derived good educational practices as measured by the National Survey of Student Engagement's College Student Report (2005). The five benchmark measures of student engagement were independent variables: (a) level of academic challenge, (b) student/faculty interactions, (c) active/collaborative learning, (d) enriching educational experiences, and (e) supportive campus environment. Analyses also considered students' academic achievement (GPA), gender, and parents' highest level of education (SES) as variables.;Chi square analyses showed that mental health category was independent of gender and parents' highest level of education. ANOVA results also showed that student GPA also did not differ significantly by mental health category. However ANOVA results showed that mean scores for all five engagement variables did differ significantly by mental health category (p < .001) with flourishing students scoring highest and languishing students scoring lowest. A series of stepwise multiple regressions were conducted using mental health score as a continuous variable based on confirmatory factor analysis of Keyes' model. Results showed that "supportive campus environment" was the engagement variable most significantly predictive of mental health for both males and females.



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