Improving Mental Health of Chinese University Students in Hong Kong: A Cognitive Behavioural Intervention Integrated with Adventure-based Counselling

Project: Research project

Project Details


Background: The issue of student mental health has become an emerging local concern with the recent increasing number of student suicide in Hong Kong. University students are often at high risk of developing mental health problems owing to the high level of psychological distress caused by the various challenges of university life. While overseas studies have consistently demonstrated that cognitive behavioural intervention (CBI) is an effective and efficient counselling approach to improving the mental health of university students, few studies have evaluated its effectiveness with Chinese university students in Hong Kong. Furthermore, adventure-based counselling has been recognised as a significant and innovative adjunct to traditional counselling and its positive effects have been well-documented, but little work has been done on integrating these two counselling approaches, particularly when working with young adults.

Objective: This project attempts to develop and examine the effectiveness of a culturally appropriate adventure-based cognitive behavioural intervention (aCBI) program in a class setting in improving various mental health outcomes and promoting resilience among Chinese university students in Hong Kong. Method: A non-equivalent comparison group design with longitudinal assessment will be adopted. The experimental group will join the aCBI program delivered as a general education course at two Hong Kong universities, and the comparison group will be recruited from students attending language courses at these two universities. A total of 256 students will be recruited, with 128 in the experimental group and 128 in the comparison group. The aCBI program will be delivered to four classes of students in two academic years. This program has 13 weekly sessions, with 3 hours for each session, and includes three components: (1) lectures introducing the basic concepts of adjustment to university life, the CBI model and various cognitive behavioural skills; (2) skills practice workshops helping students to apply the CBI skills to address their own life issues; and (3) adventure-based activities (including a one-day adventure camp and 40-minute adventure games before each skills workshop). A questionnaire (in Chinese) with validated mental health measures will be administered to both the experimental and comparison groups at pre-test, post-test and 3-month follow-up test. Repeated measures MANCOVA will be conducted to test the program effectiveness in promoting various mental health outcomes at both cognitive and affective levels.

Significance of the project: Theoretically, the findings of this project will provide empirical evidence of the effectiveness of the aCBI program in improving the mental health of Chinese university students in Hong Kong. Practically, if proved effective, the proposed program could be replicated or adapted to help Chinese students attending other universities in Hong Kong or other parts of the world.
Effective start/end date1/01/1831/12/20


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