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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 1004-1009
A study of the relationship between lifestyle and happiness of students at Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences over 2015–2016


1 Department of Medical Emergencies, School of Paramedical, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran
2 Research Center for Environmental Determinants of Health, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran
3 Students Research Committee, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication5-Oct-2017
 

   Abstract 


Background: Lifestyle, as one's behavior patterns, greatly affects one's health and society. In addition, happiness is seen as one of the major mental needs of human beings. When happiness is addressed in relation to university students, as the vibrant strata of societies, its significance becomes twofold. Objective: The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between the lifestyle and happiness of students at Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences between 2015 and 2016. Materials and Methods: In this descriptive and correlational study, the statistical population comprised all students at Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences in the 2015–2016 academic year, of which 600 students (210 males and 224 females) were selected through the stratified random sampling. Further, for data collection, the lifestyle questionnaire and Argyle's revised Oxford happiness questionnaire were utilized. Then, data were analyzed through the descriptive and inferential statistics in the SPSS Statistics Software version 21.0 (P < 0.05). Results: In the present study, the mean scores of lifestyle and happiness measured 13.0 ± 50.2 and 0.25 ± 39.3, respectively. Furthermore, the results of the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient revealed that there was a significant positive relationship between the university students' lifestyle and happiness (r = 0.631, 0.38). Conclusions: The bilateral relationship between lifestyle and happiness and their effects on the overall health is a topic that should be discussed in issues pertaining to health. Given the relationship between the variables of the present study, to boost the students' lifestyles toward improving their happiness, it is recommended that careful plans should be laid by the cultural departments in collaboration with the counseling centers in universities through providing various packages in the form of classes and workshops.

Keywords: Happiness, lifestyle, university students

How to cite this article:
Kalhori RP, Ziapour A, Kianipour N, Foroughinia A. A study of the relationship between lifestyle and happiness of students at Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences over 2015–2016. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1004-9

How to cite this URL:
Kalhori RP, Ziapour A, Kianipour N, Foroughinia A. A study of the relationship between lifestyle and happiness of students at Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences over 2015–2016. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Oct 14];10:1004-9. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/4/1004/215882



   Introduction Top


Lifestyle is a relatively fixed manner that is adopted throughout one's life whose foundation is laid in families. It is also influenced by one's culture, race, religion, socioeconomic status, and beliefs.[1] In other words, lifestyle is seen as one's objective and quantifiable personality.[2] Moreover, it encompasses behaviors such as eating habits, sleep, rest, physical activity, exercise, weight control, avoidance of smoking and alcohol, immunization against diseases, coping with stress, and the ability to use support from family and society.[3] Alfred Adler (1992) first introduced the concept of “lifestyle” which was later expanded by his followers. From his point of view, to understand an individual requires recognition of his/her perceptual organization and lifestyle. Adler also believed that one's lifestyle, a purposeful conceptual model, referred to one's faith and belief acquired during one's early days of life.[4] A healthy lifestyle was defined by the World Health Organization (2009) as one's quest for a state of complete physical, mental, and social welfare. A healthy lifestyle incorporates behaviors that guarantee one's physical and mental health. In other words, a healthy lifestyle encompasses one's physical and mental aspects. The physical aspect of lifestyle includes nutrition, exercise, and sleep, and its mental aspect incorporates social relations, stress management, learning methods, and spirituality.[5] The importance of lifestyle in the development and course of diseases has caused the formation of a new branch of medicine, known as “behavioral medicine.” In this branch, the change of one's lifestyle is emphasized toward disease prevention and treatment. Lifestyle is the focus of activities on health education and health promotion, and the aim of a part of health education is to alter one's behavior toward healthy lifestyles.[6] Many factors influence one's lifestyle, and happiness is one of those factors. Happiness is defined as a set of emotions and cognitive evaluations of life. It is also considered a degree of one's quality,[7] so that it has been considered by the World Health Organization as a part of the concept of health.[8] Research shows that happiness, as a complex multi-dimensional concept, is affected by personal and cultural factors, and it has a strong reflection on all aspects of human life.[9] It can also play the role of a catalyst and facilitator in the development of societies.[10]

Many studies have investigated the relationship between lifestyle and happiness. For example, a significant positive relationship was reported between religion and happiness.[11] Moreover, Salmabadi et al.[12] and Yazdani and Momeni [13] concluded that Islamic lifestyles and mental health were correlated, and Aghili and Kumar [14] showed that religious attitudes and happiness were related. The results of Janjani et al.,[15] Baghyani Moghadam et al.,[16] and Hezajaribi and Astinfeshan [17] showed that there was a significant relationship between lifestyle and happiness. Likewise, Kajbaf et al.[18] and Asadi et al.[19] showed that happiness and the variables of Islamic lifestyles were significantly and positively correlated. The results of a study conducted by Gschwandtner et al.[20] indicated that there was a significant and positive relationship between happiness and students' spiritual health. Siboni et al.[21] believed that improving the components of lifestyle could help one to remain healthy and cope with daily stresses. It was also believed that adopting correct lifestyles could play effective roles in one's happiness and prevention of stress and depression.[7] Similarly, Bourne et al.[22] concluded that there was a significant and positive relationship between one's happiness and lifestyle.

The relationship between lifestyle and happiness and their effects on human life have always been one of the important issues to which not much attention has been paid. Given that students are the ones who develop the future of their own countries, their lifestyle, and happiness can have significant effects on all aspects and levels of societies.

Objective

The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between the lifestyle and happiness of students at Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences between 2015 and 2016.


   Materials and Methods Top


In this descriptive and correlational study, the statistical population was comprised all students at Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences in the 2015–2016 academic year, of which 600 students (210 males and 224 females) were selected through the stratified random sampling.

For data collection, the lifestyle questionnaire (LSQ) and Argyle's revised Oxford happiness questionnaire were utilized. Then, data were analyzed through the descriptive and inferential statistics in the SPSS Statistics Software version 21.0 (P < 0.05). The inclusion criteria were studying at university at the time of conducting the research and their willingness to take part in the study. Furthermore, for data collection, a three-part questionnaire was used.

Demographic questionnaire

It comprised five items: gender, age, degree, field of study, and mode of residence.

Lifestyle questionnaire

This questionnaire was constructed to evaluate and measure lifestyle. The final version of LSQ consisted of 70 questions and 10 subscales. The subscales were physical health (eight questions), exercise and health (seven questions), weight control and nutrition (seven questions), disease prevention (seven questions), psychological health (seven questions), spiritual health (six questions), social health (seven questions), avoidance of narcotics, drugs, and alcohol (six questions), and accident prevention (seven questions). In addition, the questions were scored with four-point Likert scaling (0 = never, 1 = sometimes, 2 = usually, 3 = always), and the lowest and highest scores were 70 and 210, respectively. In a study performed by Lali et al.,[23] the validity of the LSQ, as a multidimensional instrument for assessing and measuring lifestyle, was verified using the factor analysis. Moreover, in the present study, the validity and reliability of the questionnaire were reexamined, and the content validity was examined by a panel of 12 experts in lifestyles whose corrective comments were included in the questionnaire. Furthermore, the Cronbach's alpha was used to determine the reliability (0.89≤ α ≤0.93).

The Oxford Happiness Inventory

This instrument, first introduced by Argyle and Lu,[24] is one of the most popular instruments in the field of self-evaluation, which has been used in most of studies into happiness. This questionnaire consisted of 29 questions with four-point Likert scale (1 = never, 2 = rarely, 3 = sometimes, 4 = always) and five dimensions: satisfaction with life, self-esteem, subjective well-being, satisfaction, and positive mood. The total score of the questionnaire was in the range from 0 to 87. In several studies, the Cronbach's alphas of 87%–92% and test-retest reliability coefficients of 53%–91% were reported for this questionnaire.[25] In a study conducted by Hills and Argyle,[26] it was reported that the reliability of the instrument was 91%, and the internal correlation of the items was between 0.04 and 0.65.

To commence the study, the required permits were obtained from the Vice Chancellery for the Department of Research and Technology at Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences and the selected colleges. To determine the normal distribution of data, the Kolmogorov–Smirnov test was applied. Further, to determine the relationship between the different dimensions of personality traits and happiness, the Pearson correlation coefficient was used. In addition, the Pearson correlation coefficient with repeated measures and stepwise multiple regression were employed to predict the level of happiness based on the dimensions of personality traits. All tests were analyzed through the SPSS Statistics 21 Software at the significance level of 0.05 (P < 0.05).


   Results Top


In the present study, of the whole 434 subjects under study, 224 subjects (51.6%) were female and 210 subjects (48.4%) were male, and the mean and standard deviation (STDV) of the sample population measured 21.73 ± 3.7. In addition, the 18–22 age range was in the majority (309 subjects or 71.2%). In terms of education, marginally over half of subjects (222 subjects or 51.2%) were doing a bachelor's degree, and the majority of samples were majoring in medicine (206 subjects or 47.5%). Besides, in terms of the mode of residence, 219 subjects (50.5%) were living in dormitories [Table 1].
Table 1: The demographic characteristics of the samples under the study

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The mean and STDV of students' lifestyle measured 2.50 ± 0.13, an indication that the students' lifestyles were suitable. Moreover, as for the dimensions of students' lifestyles, the results demonstrated that spiritual health (mean and STDV = 2.72 ± 0.16) and weight control and nutrition (mean and STDV = 2.21 ± 0.36) had the highest and lowest mean scores, respectively [Table 2].
Table 2: The mean scores of the components of lifestyles and happiness of university students

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In addition, the results revealed that the mean and STDV of students' happiness measured 3.39 ± 0.25, and self-esteem (mean and STDV = 3.47 ± 0.38) and positive mood (mean and STDV = 3.31 ± 0.52) had the highest and lowest mean scores, respectively [Table 2].

Moreover, as for the relationship between lifestyle and happiness, the results of Pearson correlation indicated that there was a significant relationship between the two (P < 0.000 and r = 0.631). In this regard, the physical health had the highest correlation with happiness (P < 0.000 and r = 0.871), while environmental health had the lowest correlation with happiness (P < 0.000 and r = 0.136) [Table 3].
Table 3: The results of the correlation coefficient between the dimensions of lifestyle and happiness of university students

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   Discussion Top


The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between the lifestyle and happiness of students at Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences between 2015 and 2016. The results of the present study demonstrated that the mean score of the total lifestyle of university students was average. This finding was consistent with the results of studies done by Motlagh et al.[27] about the students at Yazd University, Goudarzi et al.[28] about the students at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Hosseini et al.[29] about Iranian nursing students, Mohammadian and Mousavi [30] about the students at Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Mitchell et al.[31] about the students at University of Maryland, and Peker and Bermek [32] about Turkish students. Comparing the results of the present study and those of others showed that the lifestyles of the majority of students were moderate and heavily influenced by the environment. In other words, if there are both a favorable environment and careful planning, the possibility for the majority of students to be in good conditions will be higher.

The results of the present study also indicated that the mean and STDV of students' happiness were in good condition. This finding was concurrent with the results of studies undertaken by Goudarzi et al.[28] about the students at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Al-Naggar et al.[33] about the Malaysian students, Shafiq et al.[34] about the Pakistani students, King et al.[35] about students at Midwestern University, Piqueras et al.[36] about American students, and Demirbatir [37] about Turkish students.

Moreover, having taken the distortive factors into consideration, the results of Pearson correlation revealed that there was a significant correlation between all aspects of lifestyle and happiness. This finding was consistent with the results of studies done by Janjani et al.,[15] Asadi et al.,[19] Gschwandtner et al.,[20] Abedini and Majareh,[38] and Asghari and Safara.[39] Lifestyle is regarded as one's ordinary daily activities, thereby affecting one's health.[40] In other words, lifestyle is seen as one's objective and quantifiable personality.[23]


   Conclusions Top


Lifestyle is like an umbrella that encompasses all aspects of one's health, and those with high levels of lifestyle can act more successfully in terms of preventing physical, mental, and social diseases. The bilateral relationship between overall health and each of lifestyle and happiness as well as the interaction between them are other important issues in this regard. Given that the relationship between the environmental health and happiness was not significant, environmental health can be boosted through comprehensive planning toward students' happiness. Therefore, the more the universities invest in improving their students' lifestyle and health, the happier and more successful the students will be happier, thereby leading to their further progress.

Given the relationship between the variables of the present study, to boost the students' lifestyles toward improving their happiness, it is recommended that careful plans should be laid by the cultural departments in collaboration with the counseling centers in universities through providing various packages in the form of classes and workshops.

Limitations

The present study had several limitations. First, the data were collected through the self-reporting methods, possibly affecting the accuracy of the results. Second, because of the individual differences of the research samples, the generalizability of the results may be affected. Finally, given the individual differences of the samples, it is recommended that further studies can be carried out in this regard to draw comparisons toward reaching a consensus on this matter.

Acknowledgment

In the end, our grateful thanks to all students at the Medicine, Paramedics, and Health Schools for their kind support and cooperation.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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Correspondence Address:
Arash Ziapour
Research Center for Environmental Determinants of Health, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ATMPH.ATMPH_310_17

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