Student well-being in times of COVID-19 in the Netherlands: basic psychological need satisfaction and frustration within the academic learning environment

L. Kiltz*, M. Trippenzee, J. Fleer, M. Fokkens-Bruinsma, E. P.W.A. Jansen

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

2 Citaten (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


The COVID-19 pandemic affected student well-being through measures such as closing educational institutions and social distancing, which forced universities to adapt the student learning environment. Previous research has demonstrated that the learning environment influences student well-being by satisfying their basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. The present study therefore aimed to investigate, against the background of the pandemic, (1) how the basic psychological needs related to student well-being, (2) how students perceived interaction within the academic system, and (3) how they would like the “new educational normal” to look. To address these aims, we implemented a cross-sectional survey which included both quantitative measures and qualitative open-ended questions and distributed it at a Dutch university (n = 653). To identify the predictive strength of need satisfaction and frustration, we ran multiple regressions. We found that need satisfaction and frustration were significantly related to the well-being measures, of which relatedness was only weakly related to student well-being. Moreover, students reported restricted interactions with their teachers and fellow students, leading to feelings of disconnectedness, as well as struggles to establish or maintain relationships. In contrast with the quantitative findings, students highlighted relatedness as an essential, currently lacking part of their experience. They suggested a potential hybrid learning environment with a focus on social cohesion. This study emphasizes the relevance of interpersonal connections within higher education and provides practical ideas for post-pandemic academic structures. These insights can support systemic investments of universities in student well-being and creating a healthier learning environment for the future.

Originele taal-2English
TijdschriftEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2-mrt.-2023

Citeer dit