Fall 2003 Survey: Health
General Purpose | Major Findings | Interview Schedule
The general goal of the fall 2003 survey was to obtain a profile of
the health-related lifestyle of Holy Cross students. How often do they
exercise? What are their sleep habits? What do they eat? How often and
how much do they drink alcoholic beverages? With the exception of drinking
behavior, there is not much systematic evidence on these behaviors among
college students. Yet considerable research evidence suggests that students'
physical health is likely to shape the college experience, affecting,
for example, social relationships, mental health, and academic performance.
Many sleep questions were based on standard items for measuring sleep
habits and sleep problems among adolescents. Questions on exercise were
drawn from the 1995 National College Health Risk Behavior Survey (NCHRBS),
permitting a comparison between the fall sample of Holy Cross students
and a representative sample of all college students. Other existing
measures included in the survey were a six-item depressive mood scale
and a standard question on binge drinking.
Interviews were carried out between October 21 and November 23. A sample
of 260 respondents was randomly selected from the 2,609 Holy Cross students
enrolled and on campus as of October 2003. The population thus excluded
students who were studying away or abroad or who had taken a leave of
absence. A total of 236 interviews were completed, yielding a 91 percent
response rate and a margin of sampling error of about 6.5 percent.
Among the 236 respondents, 52 percent were female, 89 percent were
white, 92 percent ranged in age from 18 to 21 years old, and 81 percent
identified themselves as Catholics. Eighty-two percent of the respondents
lived on campus. And by academic class, 27.1 percent were first-year
students, 25.0 percent second-year, 20.8 percent third-year, and 27.1
percent fourth-year. All these statistical characteristics fall within
an acceptable range of known or estimated population parameters.