WELLS web-based intervention course found to positively impact students’ burnout risk

The accelerating risk of students experiencing study-related burnout is one of the most topical concerns in the current higher education climate, with recent exciting results from the WELLS project suggesting that the WELLS web-based intervention course could help reducing the risk of burnout in students.

The course is based on the principles of Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) and research suggesting that developing an individual’s psychological flexibility can improve overall well-being and reduce stress, depression and anxiety (e.g. Katajavuori et al., 2021; McCracken et al., 2021; Masuda et al., 2012). Psychological flexibility refers to the ability to focus on the current situation, and opportunities, take action towards achieving goals and values, even in the presence of difficulties.

A recent master’s thesis by Ronja Ruuska (supervised by WELLS Principal Investigators Dr Henna Asikainen and Dr Nina Katajavuori) investigated whether the WELLS course also impacted students’ risk of study-related burnout. The analysis found a positive change in students’ risk of burnout through the course developing students’ overall wellbeing, psychological flexibility and study skills. Students described that the course also significantly improved their self-knowledge, for instance in recognising in what areas they needed to improve, which was found to be crucial in facilitating concrete change. The exciting results also corroborate previous research suggesting that developing an individual’s psychological flexibility can decrease the risk of burnout (Towey-Swift et al., 2023).