Happiness, stress, depressive symptoms, and health behaviors among Vietnamese university students

Main Article Content

Nga Nguyen Thi
Raul Calderon Jr
Tien Truong Quang
Kien Nguyen Trung
Quynh Chi Nguyen Thai Chi Nguyen Thai
Thuy Hua Thanh
Thuan Nguyen Hoang Minh Nguyen Hoang Minh
Bao Vu Viet
Huong Nguyen Thanh


Happiness and stress levels differ by age, gender, and nationality and are known to impact student health. Previous studies from multiple countries have reported associations between happiness, stress, and student health outcomes. Information concerning happiness, stress, and health behaviors among Asian students is limited. Thus, this study aimed to describe and investigate (1) differences and associations between happiness, health behaviors, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms, and (2) identify significant predictors of happiness among a sample of Vietnamese university students.

A cross-sectional study conducted during the Fall semester of 2016 included 1775 undergraduate students (mean age 20.23, SD=1.48) from three universities in Vietnam. The questionnaire included subjective happiness and perceived stress scales, depressive symptoms, and health behavior questions. Analyses included descriptive statistics, Student's t-test, ANOVA, univariate, and multivariate binary regression.

Students who were: male, not living with parents, in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year, attended public and urban universities and were in public health, sport, and physical education majors had significantly lower happiness scores than their comparison groups. Significant univariate associations of happiness included gender, age group, resident status, year in university, university name, major of study, eating more vegetables, quality and quantity of sleep, not drinking caffeinated tea every day, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms. Significant predictors of happiness included living with parents, year in university, university name, eating more vegetables, and perceived stress.

This study identified significant differences, associations, and predictors of happiness in health behaviors, mental health, perceived stress, and socio-demographic variables among Vietnamese students. A counterintuitive finding (positive association) between stress and happiness is discussed and suggestions for further research are recommended.

Implications of this study suggest that happiness plays a significant role in the health of students and provides specific areas of focus (e.g., diet, resident status, stress, type of university, and year in university) for developing future intervention programs for Asian students.


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Article Details

Original Articles
Author Biographies

Raul Calderon Jr, Faculty of Sports Science, Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen Campus, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Faculty of Sports Science, Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen Campus, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Tien Truong Quang, Hanoi University of Public Health, Viet Nam

Hanoi University of Public Health, Viet Nam

Kien Nguyen Trung, Hanoi University of Public Health, Viet Nam

Hanoi University of Public Health, Viet Nam

Quynh Chi Nguyen Thai Chi Nguyen Thai, Hanoi University of Public Health, Viet Nam

Hanoi University of Public Health, Viet Nam

Thuy Hua Thanh, Hanoi University of Public Health, Viet Nam

Hanoi University of Public Health, Viet Nam

Thuan Nguyen Hoang Minh Nguyen Hoang Minh, Ho Chi Minh City University of Sports, Viet Nam

Ho Chi Minh City University of Sports, Viet Nam

Bao Vu Viet, Ho Chi Minh City University of Sports, Viet Nam

Ho Chi Minh City University of Sports, Viet Nam

Huong Nguyen Thanh, Hanoi University of Public Health, Viet Nam

Hanoi University of Public Health, Viet Nam


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