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Open Access Research

Not all developmental assets are related to positive health outcomes in college students

Keith J Zullig1*, Daniel A Teoli1 and Rose Marie Ward2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA

2 Department of Kinesiology and Health, Miami University of Ohio, Oxford, OH, USA

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2011, 9:52  doi:10.1186/1477-7525-9-52

Published: 13 July 2011



The purpose of this investigation was to model the relationships between developmental assets, life satisfaction, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among a stratified, random sample (n = 765, 56% response rate) of college students.


Structural equation modeling techniques were employed to test the relationships using Mplus v4.21; Model evaluations were based on 1) theoretical salience, 2) global fit indices (chi-square goodness of fit, comparative fit index: CFI and Tucker-Lewis Index: TLI), 3) microfit indices (parameter estimates, root mean squared error of approximation: RMSEA and residuals) and 4) parsimony.


The model fit the data well: χ2(n = 581, 515) = 1252.23, CFI = .94, TLI = .93 and RMSEA = .05. First, participants who reported increased Family Communication also reported higher levels of life satisfaction. Second, as participants reported having more Non-Parental Role Models, life satisfaction decreased and poor mental HRQOL days increased. Finally increased Future Aspirations was related to increased poor mental HRQOL days. Results were variant across gender.


Preliminary results suggest not all developmental assets are related to positive health outcomes among college students, particularly mental health outcomes. While the findings for Family Communication were expected, the findings for Non-Parental Role Models suggest interactions with potential role models in college settings may be naturally less supportive. Future Aspirations findings suggest college students may harbor a greater temporal urgency for the rigors of an increasingly competitive work world. In both cases, these assets appear associated with increased poor mental HRQOL days.