Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Linda Miller


Increasingly, university students are facing unique, significant physical and mental health challenges. Additionally, they are spending more and more of their time online and are using online platforms to access mental health resources; consequently, there is a timely opportunity to explore the potential of online happiness interventions, specifically with video, to improve happiness among university students. Evidence suggests that improved happiness relates to improved physical health, mental health, and academic outcomes.

The purpose of this research was to test if an online happiness intervention, using videos to boost happiness, can increase self-reported happiness among university students. The primary outcome was self-reported happiness, and secondary outcomes included self-reported lifestyle measures such as weight, confidence in goal setting abilities, satisfaction with accomplishing daily tasks, exercise, sleep, stress, tobacco use, illicit drug use, alcohol consumption, social issues, number of close friends, leisure activities, and gratitude. Additionally, feedback regarding the online program and video modules was collected.

A total of 114 students participated in this four-week, online study. Data were collected through online self-report questionnaires. Comparisons of pre and post scores on the primary and secondary outcomes measures were conducted and qualitative feedback about the video was collected. Evaluation consisted of online self-report questionnaires.

This study demonstrated that not only are students interested in participating in online programs to boost self-reported happiness, but it is also possible to increase the self-reported happiness of university student via online videos. All five measures used to assess self-reported happiness revealed an increase in scores over the duration of the study; the increase was statistically significant for four of the five measures (p < 0.05). An analysis to examine the characteristics of those who dropped out of the study from those who completed the study add additional support to the evidence that screening and sub-categorizing participants prior to an intervention in an effort to increase engagement and to meet the unique needs of individuals with particularly characteristics, may be efficacious and may increase retention.

The results provide new, valuable information to add to the body of work that suggests that happiness interventions may improve the self-reported happiness of undergraduate university students.