University of Twente Student Theses


Conceptualisation of Mental Health from Lay Students Across Europe

Heijde, Nathalie P. van der (2021) Conceptualisation of Mental Health from Lay Students Across Europe.

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Abstract:Background: The definition of mental health is still on debate. There are many differences in conceptualisations of mental health between countries and lay student perspectives are often overlooked. This study investigated the conceptualisation of mental health among university students in Europe and cultural similarities and differences between conceptualisations across seven European countries. Method: Data gathered through semi-structured interviews from 34 natural science and engineering students (mean age=22.79 years, SD=1.967, 64.7% men) from seven European countries; Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands, Serbia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, were used in the analyses. There were five participants from every country, except for Czech Republic, where there were four participants. Results: Inductive thematic analysis showed eleven aspects related to mental health; achievement and success, autonomy, balance, behaviour, coping and resilience, external conditions, feelings, harmony, mental illness, rationality and social functioning. Having close relationships with friends and family was valued the most across countries. Among collectivistic countries, autonomy was mentioned relatively less in comparison with social functioning. Conclusions: The eleven aspects related to mental health help to shape a broader understanding of the lay students conceptualisation of mental health to ultimately improve mental health research and mental health care. However, extensive research is needed to discover if the similarities and differences between the conceptualisations of mental health stay the same when using a bigger sample.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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