Health-related profiles of study delay in university students in The Netherlands

Int J Adolesc Med Health. Oct-Dec 2007;19(4):413-23. doi: 10.1515/ijamh.2007.19.4.413.


Compared with their working peers, students report more health complaints. A worse self-rated health status could hinder students to function optimally within the high demands of studying at university. On the other hand, it can be expected that worse academic functioning may have a negative influence on existing health problems or even initiate health problems. The aim of this study was to investigate associations between indicators of health and study delay in university students in the Netherlands. A group of 5,859 students was invited to complete a questionnaire, consisting of questions about general health, fatigue, psychological health, support, study-related issues, study-related problem solving, time pressure, perceived study delay and program study delay. Three study delay profiles were calculated--program delay without perceived delay (A), perceived delay without program delay (B), and perceived and program delay (C) with no study delay as reference. The response rate was 51%. Profile A was associated with unfavorable outcomes in support, study-related issues, and study-related problem solving. Profiles B and C presented unfavorable outcomes in all dimensions. Perceived study delay appeared to be a more important determinant of unfavorable outcomes than program delay. The group with perceived delay without program delay closely resembled the group with perceived and program delay. This group may be at risk for future program-study delay.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Netherlands
  • Problem Solving
  • Social Support
  • Students / psychology*
  • Time Management
  • Universities*