Development of a student health questionnaire: the necessity of a symbiosis of science and practice

Glob Health Promot. 2009 Sep;16(3):35-44. doi: 10.1177/1757975909339763.


Rationale, aims and objectives: University students report more health complaints than their working peers, but do not appear to seek help for these problems. This stresses the importance of early detection. The aim of this study was to obtain information on indicators of health associated with academic functioning to develop a preliminary health surveillance questionnaire. In addition, we aimed to gain insight in the additional value of adding experience-based information from the priority population, and individuals in their direct environment, to the knowledge gained from the scientific literature.

Method: First, a review of literature on indicators of health associated with academic functioning was conducted. Next, interviews were held with students (n = 11) and two groups of significant others with professional experience in student health care: general practitioners (n = 9) and practice assistants (n = 8).

Results and conclusions: A health surveillance questionnaire to detect students with health problems associated with academic functioning should consist of questions on social support, general health, physical health, psychological health, study-related issues and health, help-seeking behaviour and life events in the past. Experiences from practice should be integrated when developing a questionnaire.

MeSH terms

  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Social Support
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities*