Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Michael Vetter, Ph.D.


Students come to college in order to attain a degree that allows them to improve their quality of life (QOL) after graduating (Morris, 2017). However, the stressors associated with attending, including anxiety depression (Beiter et al., 2014), insomnia, and headaches (Caldwell et al., 2017), negatively impact their ability to be successful. It is then necessary for higher education institutions to address those issues by exploring and creating opportunities that can improve student QOL. The objective of this study is to understand the health-related experiences of students enrolled in a university martial arts club during college.

This qualitative case study is informed by the research that identifies physical, mental, emotional, and social health as being key components of good health. Two students at a university kempo club in the southern midwest participated in the study. Themes were identified and analyzed based on the Integrative Quality of Life (IQOL) theory which recognizes subjective and objective well-being as the two critical aspects of health and wellness. Within that theory is the idea that satisfaction with life, happiness, life’s meaning, social norms, fulfillment of needs, and realization of life’s potential are the significant factors that influence students’ QOL during college (Ventegodt et al., 2003).