Collecting Student Health and Wellness Data

Having up-to-date data on your students’ health and wellness helps you make data-driven decisions about health promotion and prevention services. With the ACHA-National College Health Assessment, your institution has the knowledge it needs to achieve student well-being and success.

What started as a pilot program in 1998 has now grown into an established and well-regarded tool that presents a rich picture of college student health. Survey participation has more than tripled since the survey’s first administration in Spring 2000, with over 900 unique intuitions participating and over 2 million students surveyed.

With the right data on your students’ health and wellness, your institution can:

  • Identify the most common health and behavior risks affecting students’ academic performance.
  • Design evidence-based health promotion programs with targeted educational and environmental initiatives.
  • Allocate monetary and staffing resources based upon defined needs.
  • Provide needs assessment data for campus and community task forces on sexual assault, alcohol use, mental health, and more.
  • Have readily available data to guide policy discussions.
  • Impact the campus culture by opening a dialogue about health with students and staff.
  • Develop proposals to secure grant funding to expand or develop programs.
  • Evaluate your programming efforts by conducting repeat administrations of the survey.

A recent redesign of the survey tool (NCHA III) includes new features for better data collection:

  • The NCHA III uses logic and skip patterns to reduce the survey length and increase completion rates.
  • Questions on mental health diagnoses are now mixed in with physical health diagnoses to reduce stigma surrounding mental health.
  • New language and gender identity terms to address inclusivity.
  • The ability to attach a point value to the answers of specific questions using established scales, including:
    • Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST)
    • The Connor-Davison Resilience Scale (CD-RISC2)
    • Diener Flourishing Scale – Psychological Well-Being (PWB)
    • USDA ERS Food Security 6-Item Short Form
    • Kessler 6 (K6) – screening for serious mental illness
    • UCLA Three-Item Loneliness Scale (Hughes, et. al. 2004)
    • The Suicide Behaviors Questionnaire – Revised (SBQ-R) 

Additionally, new questions were added to measure a variety of other health and well-being topics including:

  • Food insecurity and homelessness
  • Hours of sleep
  • Utilization of various on- and off-campus services, including mental health, physical health, and gynecologic services