Fall 2003 Survey: Health
General Purpose | Major Findings | Interview Schedule

General Introduction
Fall 2001
Spring 2002
Fall 2002

Spring 2003

Fall 2003
Spring 2004
Fall 2004 / Spring 2005
Spring 2007
Spring 2008
Spring 2009

General Purpose, Questions, and Sample

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.

Although we asked about a range of health behaviors, the survey had a particular focus on sleep. The survey questionnaire was designed in collaboration with Holy Cross psychologist Amy Wolfson, a nationally prominent sleep researcher. Professor Wolfson has done a great deal of research on the sleep patterns of junior high and high school students; with the Holy Cross Student Survey, she turns her attention to college students. She and her students will be analyzing the fall 2003 data in depth.

More specifically, the fall 2003 survey asked students about the following:

  1. Participation in intercollegiate, club, and intramural sports.
  2. Frequency of aerobic, strength, and stretching exercise.
  3. Bed times and wake-up times on weekdays and weekends.
  4. Sleep patterns such as time to fall asleep, wakeups during the night, daytime sleepiness, and naps.
  5. Sleep problems, sleep satisfaction, and sleep hygiene (e.g., drinking caffeine and exercising in the evening after dinner, watching television in bed).
  6. General physical and mental health.
  7. Eating and drinking habits.

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.

return to top