Subjective well being and the co-op employment search

Principal researchers

David Drewery and Lauren Cormier


Previous research has suggested that the student experience can be stressful and that stress can have negative impacts ranging from reduced academic performance to decreased mental health. Students report that one of the most stressful co-op experiences is the application process. Specifically, students report anxious and negative reactions to learning that they were not matched with an employer. This study seeks to measure the degree to which students’ subjective well-being (their positive and negative affect as well as their satisfaction with life in general) is affected by match and non-match results. The study also aims to assess the efficacy of two interventions, one based in coping theory and another in positive psychology research, at increasing subjective well-being after a non-match experience. Results of a longitudinal survey and experimental design suggest that (a) students who are not matched experience a decrease in subjective well-being, and (b) a positive psychological intervention (writing about good things in one’s life) helps to improve subjective well-being for non-matched students. These results will be used to inform co-op practice in order to support student success.

Additional resources