The relationship between college students' ethnicity and wellness scores

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Exercise and Sport Sciences

First Committee Member

Harry C. Mallios - Committee Chair


This study examined the relationship between college students' ethnicity and their wellness scores. The ethnic groups included in this study were the five ethnic groups with the highest percentage of undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences at a private university in the southeastern United States. These groups included White (Non-Hispanic), Hispanic, Black (Non-Hispanic), Cuban, or Cuban-American, and Asian or Pacific Islander. Information pertaining to the students' wellness scores was obtained from the Modified Testwell instrument. The Modified Testwell is a modified 50-item questionnaire version of the 100-item Testwell: Wellness Inventory developed by the National Wellness Institute (NWI) as an educational and awareness-building tool.Based on responses from 540 students, a factor analysis of the instrument was conducted and identified five robust factors of wellness. These factors were clearly interpretable and accounted for 36.8% of the total variance on Modified Testwell scores. The five wellness factors were labeled Self-responsibility, Value-orientation, Self-regulation, Physical, and Preventive Behaviors.To examine the differences among the five ethnic groups identified on each of the five factors measuring wellness, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted. The ANOVA yielded significant main effects for ethnicity, indicating that the students' scores on three dimensions of wellness, Value-orientation, Physical, and Preventive Behaviors, differed among the five ethnic groups. However, wellness scores among ethnic groups did not differ with the two additional factors, Self-responsibility and Self-regulation Wellness.The study indicated that Whites (Non-Hispanic) scored significantly higher than Blacks (Non-Hispanic), Asian/Pacific-Islanders, Hispanics, and Cuban/Cuban-Americans on the Value-orientation Wellness Factor. On this same factor, Blacks (Non-Hispanic) had significantly higher scores than Asian/Pacific-Islanders and Hispanics did. On Physical Wellness, Whites (Non-Hispanic) and Asian/Pacific-Islanders both scored significantly higher than Blacks (Non-Hispanic), Hispanics, and Cuban/Cuban-Americans did. Whites (Non-Hispanic) had significantly higher scores on the Preventive Behaviors Wellness Factor than did Blacks (Non-Hispanic) and Hispanics. Asian/Pacific-Islanders also scored significantly higher than Blacks (Non-Hispanic) on this factor. Despite insignificant findings on two factors, the results of this study revealed that students of different ethnic groups do differ on three of the five wellness factors determined through factor analysis.


Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies; Education, Health; Education, Higher; Recreation

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