Negative Roommate Relationships and the Health and Wellbeing of Undergraduate College Students


Madeleine Golding
Miryha Gould Runnerstrom
Lisa Grant Ludwig


student housing, health and wellbeing, negative roommate relationships


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to better understand the impact of negative on-campus roommate relationships on undergraduate students’ health and wellbeing.  Participants: Thirty students aged 19 to 22 from a large public research university on the west coast of the United States participated in this study. Methods: Thirty semi-structured interviews were conducted and data were analysed using open-coding to identify substantive patterns and themes. Results: Avoidance behaviors appeared to be common among participants during their negative roommate relationship, as were changes in anxiety and stress levels, sleep, and concentration. Differences in roommates’ communication styles impeded conflict resolution.  On-campus student services can offer valuable assistance but students are generally underinformed as to the nature and availability of such help.  Conclusion: Perceptions of on-campus student health and wellness services may influence students’ decisions to seek help from these services to cope with a negative roommate experience.


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