PURPOSE: As defined by the National Wellness Institute (NWI), wellness is an active process through which individuals recognize and engage in conscious, self-directed steps that lead to their fullest potential. The NWI recognizes six dimensions of wellness including physical, social, spiritual, emotional, occupational, and intellectual. These six dimensions are interconnected and essential for holistic health and wellness. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown, which led to remote learning, and the subsequent return to campus on the six dimensions of wellness in college students.
METHODS: An online survey was completed by a random sample of 81 Catawba College students during the fall 2020 semester. A series of validated questions related to each of the six dimensions of wellness was examined for two different time periods; the Remote Learning (RL) period which was caused by the COVID-19 lockdown (March 11- August 13, 2020) and the Return to Campus (RC) period (August 14 - October 18, 2020).
RESULTS: There was a significant increase in intellectual wellness between the RL (4.3 ± 0.9) and RC (4.5 ± 0.7) periods (p < 0.01). There were no significant changes in the remaining dimensions of wellness: Physical, social, spiritual, emotional, or occupational as students returned to campus (p > 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Based upon the results of this study, intellectual wellness increased during the time period in which students returned to campus. No other wellness dimensions were significantly impacted by the return to campus. It is important to understand the potential changes in college students’ wellness, as it may warrant additional research, resources, and programs to support their evolving health and wellness needs.