Project ID NS-MH2024_08


Co Supervisor 1A Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, School of Mental Health & Psychological Sciences, Department of PsychologyWebsite

Co Supervisor 1B Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, School of Mental Health & Psychological Sciences, Department of PsychologyWebsite

Understanding student mental health and wellbeing at King’s: a longitudinal cohort study.

Among the 1.7 million UK university students under the age of 25, as many as 2 in 5 may meet criteria for mental health problems. The burden of distress is not equal; we know that students identifying as LGBTQ+ and students with a disability have a higher prevalence of mental health problems. Our priority setting exercise with students identified that further research needs to be conducted to understand which students are at particular risk of poor mental health and why. Students also prioritise investigating the causal factors, including student finances, living arrangements and unhealthy lifestyle. These questions are a priority now, as universities across the UK look to implement a Whole University Approach to better support student mental health. The sector needs to better understand how to do this equitably.
This project will address knowledge gaps, identifying risk and protective factors for student mental health, and test pathways.
The project will work with longitudinal cohort data collected through the King’s Wellbeing Survey (approx. N = 5,000 annually), providing rich data about the mental health and wellbeing of students. Using longitudinal models such as Linear Mixed Models and Latent Growth Models, this project will work quantitatively to test a set of hypotheses around predictors of student mental health. Specific hypotheses will be developed in collaboration with stakeholders. The prospective student will receive training in data-wrangling and longitudinal modelling in R.
Year 1: Systematic review of the risk factors; cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis (data from 2024 & 2025).
Year 2: Publish first analysis; conduct focus groups with students and university stakeholders to understand their perspective on the patterns in the quantitative data. Insights from this will inform the final longitudinal study, analysing data from 2024, 2025 and 2026.
Year 3: Complete final analysis. Write up for publication and thesis.

Representative Publications

Sampson, K., Priestley, M., Dodd, A.L., Broglia, E., Wykes, T., Robotham, D., Tyrrell, K., Ortega Vega, M., Byrom, N.C. Key questions: Research priorities for student mental health (2022) BJPsych Open, 8 (3), art. no. e90. DOI: 10.1192/bjo.2022.61

Stoll, N., Yalipende, Y., Byrom, N.C., Hatch, S.L., Lempp, H. Mental health and mental well-being of Black students at UK universities: a review and thematic synthesis (2022) BMJ open, 12 (2), p. e050720. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050720

Upsher, R., Percy, Z., Nobili, A., Foster, J., Hughes, G., Byrom, N. A Non-Randomised Controlled Study of Interventions Embedded in the Curriculum to Improve Student Wellbeing at University (2022) Education Sciences, 12 (9), art. no. 622. DOI: 10.3390/educsci12090622

Pollmann, A., Fritz, J., Barker, E. D., & Fuhrmann, D. (2022). Networks of adversity in childhood and adolescence and their relationship to adult mental health. Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. doi: 10.1007/s10802-022-00976-4

Alam, I., Khayri, E., Podger, T. A. B., Aspinall, C., Fuhrmann, D., & Lau, J. Y. F. (2022). A call for better research and resources for understanding and combatting youth loneliness: integrating the perspectives of young people and researchers. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 1–4. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s00787-022-02125-0

Fuhrmann D., van Harmelen A.-L. & Kievit R. A. (2021). Well-Being and Cognition Are Coupled During Development: A Preregistered Longitudinal Study of 1,136 Children and Adolescents. Clinical Psychological Science. doi: 10.1177/21677026211030211