STEM Students’ Academic Well-Being at University before and during Later Stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Cohort and Longitudinal Study

Marlon Nieuwenhuis*, Lianne Aarntzen*, Maaike Endedijk, Ruth van Veelen, Saskia M. Kelders

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This paper offers an indepth analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on STEM students’ academic well-being beyond the initial stages of the pandemic. We draw upon a unique self-collected cross-sectional cohort dataset (n = 990, prepandemic and pandemic first-year STEM students) and longitudinal dataset (n = 170, students who started their studies pre-pandemic and are in their second year during the pandemic). Study 1 revealed that STEM students’ academic well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic was lower than before its onset, as shown when comparing a pre-pandemic and pandemic cohort of first-year students and from analyzing first-year students’ changes in academic well-being over time (i.e., lower academic satisfaction, belonging, efficacy and persistence intentions). Study 2 showed that especially COVID-19-related worries regarding academic enjoyment and study progress were related to STEM students’ decreased academic well-being, both for first and second-year students. Study 3 demonstrated that both peer support and faculty support contributed to higher academic well-being among first and second-year STEM students during the pandemic. These findings benefit policymakers and higher education institutions as they provide insight in how to safeguard sustainable academic well-being for STEM students in times of crisis or challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14267
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume15
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

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