Exploring the Interplay Between Equity Groups, Mental Health and Perceived Employability Amongst Students at a Public Australian University

Chelsea Gill*, James Todd, Dawn Bennett, Adrian Gepp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

This article explores the interplay between perceived employability (PE), mental health, and equity group membership amongst students at a large public urban university in Australia. The article reports from a study conducted between 2017 and 2022, during which students self-assessed their PE. Differences in PE by equity group membership were assessed using responses to structured fields in the questionnaire (n = 24,329). Custom measures were constructed using student responses to open-ended fields to proxy student wellbeing based on sentiment analysis and mention of mental health or synonymous terms (n = 12,819). Analyses included two-way tests of differences between groups and multivariate analyses considering the effect of equity group membership and mental health concerns on employability beliefs. Results indicate that students with a disability, with English as a second language, or with wellbeing concerns report lower perceived employability. Of all the PE dimensions, academic self-efficacy is most consistently affected by equity group membership and wellbeing concerns. Further, wellbeing concerns are more prevalent for students with disabilities. The findings strengthen support for policy and institutional initiatives focusing on student wellbeing in general but also specifically for equity groups that are already associated with poorer employability beliefs. In particular, students with disabilities appear to have poorer self-esteem and academic self-efficacy and are more likely to have mental health concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalResearch in Higher Education
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2024

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