A 4-year Longitudinal Study of Well-being of Chinese University Students in Hong Kong

Tan Lei Shek, Lu Yu, Ka Yu Florence Wu, Xiaoqin Zhu, Kevin H.Y. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The present longitudinal study explored the development of personal well-being in university students over 4 years. Personal well-being was indexed by multiple indicators including life satisfaction, positive youth development qualities, and university engagement. A sample of 434 students enrolled in the new 4-year undergraduate program in one university in Hong Kong was successfully followed up for 4 years since they started their university study in 2012–2013 academic year. Students completed an online survey on a yearly basis and four waves of data were collected. Results revealed significant changes in most well-being indicators over time with three main observations. First, students’ life satisfaction remained at a stable level during 4 years. Second, most students’ self-reported positive youth development competencies followed a U-shaped developmental trajectory, which was characterised by a dip in the second year and a continuous rebound in the third year and fourth year. Third, students’ university engagement in different aspects showed significant increments in the third and fourth year of university study. The findings underscore the disparate developmental patterns of different aspects of student well-being during university study. This suggests that there is a need to take into account students’ developmental characteristics and related challenges in different stages of university life when develop and implement programs in university to promote student well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-884
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Research in Quality of Life
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Chinese students
  • Competence
  • Engagement
  • Life satisfaction
  • Positive youth development
  • Undergraduate study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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