Psychological well-being of students taking health degree courses

Bienestar psicológico en estudiantes de carreras de la salud
Sandra Sandoval Barrientosa, Anita Dorner Parísa, Alex Véliz Burgosb

a Departamento de Salud, Universidad de Los Lagos, Puerto Montt, Chile
b Departamento de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de Los Lagos, Puerto Montt, Chile

Recibido 19 agosto 2016, Aceptado 09 enero 2017

Palabras Clave

Salud mental, Estudiantes del área de la salud, Educación superior, Autonomía personal, Psicología


Mental health, Health area students, Higher education, Personal autonomy, Psychology


Introduction: Health degree courses in Chile have seen an increase in interest and matriculations in the last 10 years. The challenge now is to take into account the diversity of student profiles. At this stage, it is essential to know the socio-emotional and psycho-pedagogical features of those who will be in charge of developing a plan for people's care, in order to support them during their professional development.

Objectives: To identify the level of psychological well-being of health area students in a public university in southern Chile.

Method: This descriptive, cross-sectional study was developed using a positivist approach. It included 190 volunteer health students of both genders with a mean age of 20.94 (SD=3.17). Ryff's Psychological well-being scale (1989) was used. This scale has six dimensions, (a) Environmental mastery, (b) Purpose in life, (c) Autonomy, (d) Positive relations, (e) Self-acceptance, and (f) Personal growth.

The values of internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) of the scale dimensions go from 0.68 to 0.78.

Results: The results show that 40.6% stated to be clear about their purpose in life. However, 41.7% has a deficit level of positive relationships with the environment, 26.6% declared a low level of autonomy, and 25.3% a low level of personal growth. The women had a higher mean in positive relationships, environmental mastery, and personal growth dimensions. The men have a higher mean in autonomy.

Conclusions: The results indicate that universities should provide mechanisms to support the socio-affective development of their health degree students.