About the research
The student health check is the result of scientific research carried out by the Student Doctors for the UvA. This research shows that the students’ problems, in addition to the study-related problems, are often connected to problems typical to being a student. Until now these aspects of student life have been generally paid little attention and the focus lay primarily on study problems.
The time as a student can be a tumultuous one and for many it marks the transition to adulthood. In addition to study-related problems students may run into other problems with their family, housing or finances. Sometimes there are issues regarding identity, self-confidence and wanting to ‘belong’, motivation issues, dealing with drugs and alcohol, combining study and work, discovering sexuality, etcetera. Examples of difficult stages in student life are: settling in a new environment as a first year’s or completing the graduation assignment: graduation stress. All too often students do not make use of the facilities provided for them, such as a student doctor, study advisor, student psychologist or certain coping strategies, like seeking help. The student health check is the first step towards bringing about a change, by enabling quick identification of problems and offering opportunities for improvement of the situation. The test has been amended after the results from the first version of the questionnaire, which was filled out by several thousand students.
The Traffic Lights project has been approved by the Ethics Committee for the University of Amsterdam. A comprehensive project leaflet has been composed to provide students with in-depth information on the project.
Confidentiality of research data
The results from this research will be used to improve the Student Health Check and for scientific research. Only data in anonymous form will be used for this. The anonymity of the students will be guaranteed at all times. Departments will only receive reports at a group level (e.g. about differences in perceived health between bachelors en masters). Only with the consent of the student in question, can a student be followed in time and will it be permitted to actively invite this student at the given email address to take part in the future. If a student wishes to discontinue the Student Health Check prematurely, that is always possible, without having to state any reasons for doing so. A student may also withdraw his/her consent to use the data up to 24 hours after filling in the test. The data concerned will then be deleted from our files and destroyed.
Before students commence with the test they give their informed consent: they state that they are sufficiently aware of the aim of the project, their role in the project and the confidentiality of the research data. They are also offered the opportunity to consent to being invited to take part in the Student Health Check again after six months. The benefit for the student is feedback tailored to the personal situation, which can be downloaded or printed. After having gone through the personalised feedback, the students are invited one more time at their email addresses to answer a few additional questions regarding the effectiveness of the feedback they received, in identifying health problems and student-related problems, behavioural intention regarding change in behaviour (e.g. lifestyle) and actual behavioural change. Because this research does not carry with it any health or safety risks, no specific insurance has been taken out.