Italian university students' self-perceived health and satisfaction of life
Annali dell'Istituto Superiore di Sanità
Health is defined as a state of complete physical, social and mental well-being, therefore, it should not be considered as simply the absence of disease. In this light, the assessment of self-perceived health and life satisfaction plays an important role as it allows addressing the subjective perception of physical health, as well as mental health and social functioning. This study analyzed data from 8516 university students enrolled in the "Sportello Salute Giovani" project ("Youth Health
... ("Youth Health Information Desk"). In particular, it addressed self-perceived health and life satisfaction, reported somatic and psychological symptoms and ability to cope with daily problems of university students from 18 to 30 years old. Overall, 77.1% of students declared to have a good or very good health and the mean score of life satisfaction was 7.46. In respect to somatic and psychological symptoms, 25.8% of students reported to suffer almost daily of at least one among headache, stomach pain, back pain, tiredness, nervousness, dizziness and troubles falling asleep. Results varied on the basis of sex, with women showing lower self-perceived health compared to men and reporting more symptoms. Furthermore, self-perceived health was shown better in younger students and in those belonging to higher socio-economic level. The survey showed that concern exists with respect to university students' self-perceived health, which is different from that arising from other evidence. Female students had a significant lower self-perceived health and reported somatic and psychological symptoms more commonly than men. On the other hand, results about life satisfaction seem to be aligned with the literature. One of the most important implications of the study is the need to address self-perceived health and reported symptoms in university students in order to monitor them and initiate interventions aimed at improving well-being and controlling inequalities.