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Open Access Research article

Psychological quality of life and its association with academic employability skills among newly-registered students from three European faculties

Michèle Baumann1*, Ion Ionescu2 and Nearkasen Chau3

Author Affiliations

1 INSIDE research unit, University of Luxembourg, Walferdange L-7201 Luxembourg

2 Department of Social Work, University Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Iasi, R-700506 Romania

3 INSERM, Univ Paris-Sud U669, Univ Paris V UMR-S0669, Paris F-75014 France

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BMC Psychiatry 2011, 11:63  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-11-63

Published: 18 April 2011

Abstract

Background

In accord with new European university reforms initiated by the Bologna Process, our objectives were to assess psychological quality of life (QoL) and to analyse its associations with academic employability skills (AES) among students from the Faculty of Language, Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education, Walferdange Luxembourg (F1, mostly vocational/applied courses); the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, Liege, Belgium (F2, mainly general courses); and the Faculty of Social Work, Iasi, Romania (F3, mainly vocational/professional courses).

Method

Students who redoubled or who had studied at other universities were excluded. 355 newly-registered first-year students (145 from F1, 125 from F2, and 85 from F3) were invited to complete an online questionnaire (in French, German, English or Romanian) covering socioeconomic data, the AES scale and the QoL-psychological, QoL-social relationships and QoL-environment subscales as measured with the World Health Organisation Quality of Life short-form (WHOQoL-BREF) questionnaire. Analyses included multiple regressions with interactions.

Results

QoL-psychological, QoL-social relationships and QoL-environment' scores were highest in F1 (Luxembourg), and the QoL-psychological score in F2 (Belgium) was the lower. AES score was higher in F1 than in F3 (Romania). A positive link was found between QoL-psychological and AES for F1 (correlation coefficient 0.29, p < 0.01) and F3 (correlation coefficient 0.30, p < 0.05), but the association was negative for F2 (correlation coefficient -0.25, p < 0.01). QoL-psychological correlated positively with QoL-social relationships (regression coefficient 0.31, p < 0.001) and QoL-environment (regression coefficient 0.35, p < 0.001).

Conclusions

Psychological quality of life is associated with acquisition of skills that increase employability from the faculties offering vocational/applied/professional courses in Luxembourg and Romania, but not their academically orientated Belgian counterparts. In the context of developing a European Higher Educational Area, these measurements are major indicators that can be used as a guide to promoting programs geared towards counseling, improvement of the social environment, and services to assist with university work and facilitate achievement of future professional projects.

Keywords:
students; WHOQoL-BREF; QoL-psychological; employability; academic skills; QoL-environmental; QoL-social relationships