Australian distance students’ perceptions of individual and institutional responsibility for health and wellbeing

Beccaria, Lisa and Rogers, Cath and Burton, Lorelle (2016) Australian distance students’ perceptions of individual and institutional responsibility for health and wellbeing. Journal of the Australia and New Zealand Student Services Association, 47. pp. 18-30. ISSN 1320-2480


Distance students continue to be a growing cohort in higher education. They may not be able to access university supports, activities and services as easily or readily as students studying on campus, and their demographic and social characteristics may mean that issues that affect their health and wellbeing may be different. No previous research has examined Australian distance students’ perceptions of their responsibilities for their health, nor how they perceive the role of the university in supporting health.

As part of a broader study about distance students’ health, semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with seven (n = 7) university distance students enrolled at a regional Australian university. This comprised 4 females and 3 males. Two major themes emerged including the individual student role and responsibilities and the roles and responsibilities of the university. Students perceived that they had an individual responsibility for their health and wellbeing, as well perceiving the university playing key roles to support their health. They believed that the university should provide health information that is framed and targeted to distance students, increase awareness of support services, provide transition to study and academic support, and develop community partnerships to meet health and wellbeing needs. Knowing what distance students think about their university’s obligations to support students studying at a distance, can help university leaders, student services, and health promotion practitioners, to develop or enable greater access to the right supports and services.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: c. 2016 Australia and New Zealand Student Services Association.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Nursing and Midwifery
Date Deposited: 13 May 2016 06:32
Last Modified: 13 May 2016 06:33
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170103 Educational Psychology
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130305 Educational Counselling

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