Positive Mental Health in University Students and Its Relations with Psychological Vulnerability, Mental Health Literacy, and Sociodemographic Characteristics: A Descriptive Correlational Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Mar 8;19(6):3185. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19063185.


This study aimed to evaluate positive mental health (PMH) and its relation with sociodemographic characteristics, mental health literacy, and the psychological vulnerability scale (PVS) in Portuguese university students aged 17 to 62. A descriptive correlational study was carried out. An online survey was conducted to evaluate demographic variables, and several questionnaires were applied to evaluate positive mental health, psychological vulnerability, and mental health literacy. The data was collected from 1 November 2019 to 1 September 2020. Overall, 3405 students participated in the study. The results show that 67.8% of students revealed a high level of PMH, 31.6% presented a medium level of PMH, and 0.6% had a low level of PMH. Male students reported higher personal satisfaction (t (3170) = -2.39, p = 0.017) and autonomy (t (3170) = -3.33, p = 0.001) in PMH compared to female students. Students without a scholarship scored higher (t (3127) = -2.04, p = 0.42) in PMH than students who held a scholarship. Students who were not displaced from their home reported higher (t (3170) = -1.99, p = 0.047) self-control in PMH than those displaced from their home. University students with higher PMH results had lower PVS results and higher literacy results. The findings of this study will contribute to identifying students' PMH intervention needs.

Keywords: adult; health promotion; mental health; mental health literacy; psychological vulnerability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Literacy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities