Solution-Focused Wellness Coaching: A Mixed Methods, Longitudinal Study with College Students

Document Type


Publication Date



Research indicates that college students are experiencing mental health challenges of greater severity and frequency. College students present with a variety of wellness-related challenges, resulting in increased demand on campus health resources and service limitations including extended wait lists and increased off-campus referrals. This research study examined the effectiveness of a short-term solution-focused intervention on perceptions of wellness and stress among the college student population. This study utilized a longitudinal, mixed-methods design to assess the impact of a brief (seven-week) intervention on perceived stress and wellness among 52 college students at a large Midwestern University, using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and Five-Factor Wellness Evaluation of Lifestyle (5 F-WEL). Repeated measures analysis of variance (RM-ANOVA) results indicated significant differences across time for perceived stress and wellness (p < .01). To augment quantitative data, a brief, semi-structured interview was completed with 24 study participants post-intervention, and an Applied Thematic Analysis (ATA) was conducted as a means of identifying themes. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of a solution-focused wellness (SFW) approach in changing perceptions of stress and wellness. Findings provide support for a prevention model in which college students are encouraged to proactively engage in lifestyle activities that enhance their wellness.