Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Karen Schieman

Second Advisor

Maria Roche-Dean

Third Advisor

Pamela Wadsworth


This study investigated the level of loneliness among health-focused scholars in the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS), Western Michigan University to improve student life experience, social opportunities, and support networks. We recruited participants from various CHHS programs using a convenience sampling method, requiring informed consent and program enrollment. The UCLA Loneliness Scale served as our measurement tool, allowing us to compare scores across program backgrounds using independent samples t-tests or non-parametric alternatives. Among 59 participants, 22.0% reported low loneliness levels, 49.1% moderate levels, 25.4% moderately high levels, and 3.4% high levels. Notably, the highest scores emerged in questions assessing social support systems, personality-based socialization tendencies, and self-awareness. While overall levels of loneliness weren't alarming, concerning trends emerged within specific programs. Nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology students reported significantly higher levels of loneliness compared to other program backgrounds. This disparity warrants further investigation into the potential impact of program demands and culture on student well-being. This study's findings highlight the diverse prevalence of loneliness in CHHS, with a significant portion experiencing moderate-to-high levels. Additionally, the focus areas revealed by question scores suggest potential avenues for interventions aimed at strengthening social connections and support systems. Recommendations included implementing peer mentorship programs for freshmen focused on building friendships and navigating social challenges, integrating modules on social-emotional well-being within relevant CHHS courses, and actively increasing faculty and student diversity by achievable percentages and timelines through targeted outreach and scholarship programs. These initiatives have the potential to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment, directly addressing the identified loneliness concerns among CHHS students. Limitations of the study highlight areas for future research. International students, who were underrepresented, may experience unique loneliness due to cultural factors. Future studies should strive for a more diverse sample. Additionally, lack of differentiation between graduate and undergraduate students and limited data from several CHHS programs hinder generalizability. Future research should address these gaps to provide a more complete picture.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Included in

Nursing Commons