Australian undergraduate students are facing difficult economic circumstances and rates of psychological distress are well above the general population. Many are combining their study with paid work to manage financially. There is, however, little to no research on the relationship between economic pressures, academic demands and health (mental and physical) among these young adults. This study used a mixed-methods approach, combining semi-structured interviews with health measures to investigate the interactions and interconnections between work, study and health among 22 Australian undergraduate students. Thematic data analysis concentrated on the effect of time constraints on health, due to the financial and academic demands of contemporary undergraduate life. We found that students felt time-pressured, and commonly sacrificed sleep, nutrition, exercise and lecture attendance as a way of managing employment demands. These strategies contributed to poor health; we observed very high rates of psychological distress, poor sleep, diet and exercise, peaking during exams. Our in-depth study illustrates the challenges facing the current generation of undergraduate students in Australia, raising their study–work conflict as a genuine public health and social equity issue.
SOURCE: Grimmond, T. Yazidjoglou, A. Strazdins, L. “Earning to learn: the time-health trade-offs of employed Australian undergraduate students.” Health Promotion International, 27 January 2020.
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The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present
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