College and university students are heavily influenced by their exposure to opportunities, individuals, and belief-systems during their time in school. More specifically, countless students are impacted by campus Christian ministries. There are 67 registered religious clubs and organizations across Arizona State University's four campuses, and 46 of them identify as Christian. Similar to most faith-based organizations, Christian campus ministries seek to impact the lives of students. This study will take a look at the influence of these ministries at ASU by researching their intersection with another key component of university life: wellness.
The primary research question is, “How does involvement in Christian ministries at ASU relate to the wellness of students?” The study will examine multiple dimensions of wellness: occupational, physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional. Each component is essential to understanding the health and well-being of an individual, which is why this study will measure wellness levels in each dimension among samples of students at ASU.
The methodology chosen was a short, anonymous survey that 148 ASU students participated in—73 involved in Christian ministries at ASU and 75 not involved. The quantitative component included a wellness assessment using questions from The National Wellness Institute. These wellness scale questions were broken up into 5 randomized sections, each with one question per dimension, for 30 questions total. Each question response was assigned a rating on a 1 to 5 scale, 1 associated with low wellness and 5 high wellness. The qualitative component, comprised of short answer questions, only applied to students who were involved in a Christian ministry. This portion allowed respondents to explain if and how the ministry impacts each dimension of wellness uniquely.
The quantitative results showed some evident differences between students involved in Christian ministries and students not involved. The social and spiritual dimensions concluded much higher levels of wellness for involved students, both statistically significant with p-values of 0.028 and 0.004. Although some of the wellness differences between involved and not involved participants were not statistically significant, there is also notable variation among questions within each dimension. For the qualitative data, most students in Christian ministries said they believe their involvement increases their wellness in all six dimensions. For each dimension, over 75% of participants said that the ministry impacted their well-being. For the social, spiritual, and emotional dimensions, at least 97% of respondents said their ministry involvement impacted their wellness.
In examining the conclusions of the study, one recommendations is to strengthen the partnership between the greater ASU community and Christian ministries by collaborating and combining resources for programming that relates to their common goals and shared values. Additionally, other faith-based organizations at ASU may benefit from replicating this study to observe their unique wellness impact.