Cover of higher education & research in France, facts and figures

📄 Source:OVE.

 Coverage:students enrolled for the 2012-2013 academic year in universities (whole France), schools of engineering, business and culture, Advanced technician's sections (STS) and classes preparing for admission to Grandes Écoles (CPGE).

The 7th edition of the Student Living Conditions survey by the National Observatory of Student Life (Observatoire national de la vie étudiante - OVE) was completed in spring 2013. About one in ten students were invited, by post, to answer an online questionnaire. Almost 41,000 students participated, a response rate of slightly over 21%. To ensure better representivity, the raw data were weighted according to centralised data on effective enrolments in educational institutions compiled by the statistical departments of the appropriate supervisory ministries. Those surveyed represented the 1,948,265 students enrolled for the 2012-2013 academic year in universities, engineering schools, business schools, schools of culture or in the higher education classes of public high schools dependent on the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research (Ministère de l'Éducation nationale et de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche - MENESR) (i.e. 82% of the student population in France).

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14 student life: student health

More than six out of ten students consider that they are in good health. However, older male and female students are slightly less positive about their health. Exhaustion, stress and sleep problems are frequent, especially in some fields of studies. Finally, 8% of students do not have complementary health insurance and 13% have already gone without treatment for financial reasons.

French students' assessment of their general state of health is positive overall. 63% are satisfied or very satisfied with their state of health. Only 11% consider it to be unsatisfactory or fairly unsatisfactory (chart 14.01). The characteristics of the student population can help explain this positive assessment. The student population comes for the most part from the middle and upper classes, they are well-informed and young (with an average age of 22, they are in fact the youngest in Europe).

However, students' opinions of their state of health is not uniform. Women's assessment is more negative than men's, as 68% of men consider that they are in good or very good health, compared with only 59% of women. This is a constant in the area of health, found in the French population but also in all European countries. These gendered perceptions particularly reflect differences in lifestyle, in people's relationship with their body, in nutrition and in mental health. Also, as one gets older and moves towards becoming independent and living alone, this leads to a decline in the positive assessment of one's state of health. Thus 58% of students aged 26 and over consider that they are in good or very good health compared with 66% of students under 20.

Although overall, students consider that they are in good health, many say that they have feelings of unease (table 14.02). They say that they often feel exhausted (53%), stressed (53%) and have sleep problems (39%). Timetables (for study and/or work) can vary considerably according to the study programmes, and this is not without its impact on the fragile psychological state of some students. Students in classes preparing for admission to Grandes Écoles (Classe préparatoire aux grandes écoles - CPGE) are affected more often than others by exhaustion, stress and depression. Doing paid work during the academic year also seems to be a source of tension. Students who work at least part-time and at least 6 months of the year are more often prone to sleep problems (45%), exhaustion (60%) or stress (57%).

Although the student population seems to be fairly well protected, there are some indicators that could lead one to qualify this observation. 8% of all students do not have complementary health insurance. This is even the case for almost a third of foreign students (compared with only 5% of French students). In addition, a little over a quarter of students say that they have gone without seeing a doctor (chart 14.03). Foregoing healthcare is something that increases with student age and reaches 35% for 23-25-year-olds. It is also in this age bracket that foregoing care for financial reasons is greatest (58% of those who have gone without healthcare) (chart 14.04). The reason for this is mainly the pivotal position of this age bracket in the transition towards economic and family independence: for the youngest students, the family plays a protective role in terms of healthcare, whereas for the older students it is economic independence (especially through work) that fulfils this role.

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📄 Source:OVE.
 Coverage:students enrolled for the 2012-2013 academic year in universities (whole France), schools of engineering, business and culture, Advanced technician's sections (STS) and classes preparing for admission to Grandes Écoles (CPGE).

How to cite this paper :

BELGHITH Feres, FERRY Odile. Student life: student health. In: Higher education & research in France, facts and figures - 49 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2015. 8th ed. Chapter 14, 38-39 [Accessed 10/22/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-139433-9. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/EESR8EN_ES_14-student_life_student_health.php

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The 7th edition of the Student Living Conditions survey by the National Observatory of Student Life (Observatoire national de la vie étudiante - OVE) was completed in spring 2013. About one in ten students were invited, by post, to answer an online questionnaire. Almost 41,000 students participated, a response rate of slightly over 21%. To ensure better representivity, the raw data were weighted according to centralised data on effective enrolments in educational institutions compiled by the statistical departments of the appropriate supervisory ministries. Those surveyed represented the 1,948,265 students enrolled for the 2012-2013 academic year in universities, engineering schools, business schools, schools of culture or in the higher education classes of public high schools dependent on the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research (Ministère de l'Éducation nationale et de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche - MENESR) (i.e. 82% of the student population in France).

 

Key figures


Share of students declaring they are in good health
63%
 
2013
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "14. student life: student health".

Source: OVE
Share of students declaring they have suffered from stress
53%
 
2013
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "14. student life: student health".

Coverage: during the week preceding the test
Source: OVE
Share of students who have gone without healthcare at least once
27%
 
2013
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "14. student life: student health".

Source: OVE
Share of students who have gone without healthcare at least once for financial reasons among those who have gone without healthcare at least once
49%
 
2013
Whole of France
 
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Extract from the chapter "14. student life: student health".

Source: OVE

14.01 Students' assessment of their state of health (%)

Women
Men
All
  
Not at all or slightly satisfied
Moderately satisfied
Satisfied or very satisfied
 
 

59% of female students consider their state of health to be satisfactory or very satisfactory.

📄 Source:OVE
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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14.02 Feelings of unease during the week preceding the survey (%)

 
Stress Exhaustion Sleep problems Depression Isolation No psychological fragility
CPGE 64 69 39 29 20 13
STS 45 54 40 23 17 21
IUT 43 50 34 21 18 26
University (excl. Healthcare and IUT) 55 52 41 28 24 20
Healthcare 56 56 38 25 23 20
Engineers 37 42 28 18 17 34
Business 51 47 39 25 23 27
Culture 60 60 42 29 23 14
All 53 53 39 26 22 21
 

55% of university students said they had felt stress during the week preceding the survey response.

📄 Source:OVE
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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14.03 Foregoing healthcare according to age (%)

Under 19
19-20
21-22
23-25
26 and over
All
  
Yes
No
 
 

18% of students under 19 say they have already foregone health care.

📄 Source:OVE
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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14.04 Foregoing healthcare for financial reasons according to age (%)

Under 19
19-20
21-22
23-25
26 and over
All
  
Foregone healthcare at least once for financial reasons
Foregone for other non-financial reasons
 
 

Among students aged under 19 who have foregone health care, 32% say that they have done this at least once for financial reasons.

📄 Source:OVE
 Coverage: Whole of France.

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Related statistical publication

 OVE Infos 27 - Les étudiants, une population inégalement protégée en matière de santé - Feres Belghith, Simon Le Corgne - March 2013
La santé constitue un thème incontournable pour appréhender les conditions de vie des étudiants. L’enquête triennale Conditions de vie des étudiants qui a recueilli 33 000 réponses pour sa sixième édition en 2010, aborde de multiples aspects des

conditions de vie et d’études des étudiants (parcours, vie studieuse, ressources, logement, restauration…). Elle permet ainsi une analyse fine des conditions de santé de cette population ainsi que de leurs effets. Cet OVE infos analyse les jugements et les pratiques des étudiants en matière de santé, il interroge les raisons des renoncements à des consultations médicales, les conduites à risques et met en lumières les facteurs qui jouent sur les fragilités psychologiques des étudiants.

Translation

 Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheL'état de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche en France n°8 - juin 2015
14 - la vie étudiante : la santé des étudiants - Feres Belghith & Odile Ferry
Plus de six étudiants sur dix s’estiment en bonne santé. Mais les étudiantes et les étudiants âgés ont une appréciation un peu moins positive sur leur santé. Épuisement, stress et problèmes de sommeil sont fréquents notamment dans certaines filières d’études. Enfin, 8 % des étudiants n’ont pas de mutuelle complémentaire et 13 % ont déjà renoncé à des soins pour des raisons financières [Consult the following page in french]


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