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See detailPhysical and mental health, substance abuse and preventive behaviour: disparities between Central/Eastern versus Western European first-year university students in social sciences
Ionescu, Ion; Bucki, Barbara UL; Baumann, Michèle UL

in Analele Stiintifice ale Universitatii "Alexandru Ioan Cuza". Sectiunea Sociologie si Asistenta Sociala = Scientific Annals of the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University. Sociology and Social Work Section (2014), 7(1), 96-115

Background: Students at many European universities are in poor health and have unhealthy lifestyles. This study assessed and compared physical and mental health, substance use and preventive behaviour ... [more ▼]

Background: Students at many European universities are in poor health and have unhealthy lifestyles. This study assessed and compared physical and mental health, substance use and preventive behaviour among Polish and Romanian students versus students from France, a longer-standing member of the European Union. Methods: Four months after the beginning of the academic year, 934 French (Metz), 480 Polish (Katowice), and 195 Romanian (Iasi) first-year students of human and social sciences volunteered to complete an online self-reported questionnaire in their native language. The data were analysed using the age and sex adjusted odds ratios (OR) computed with logistic models and analysis of variance controlling for age and sex. Results: 41.9% of French students, 79.2% of Polish students and 48.2% of Romanian students were aged 20 years or over, and 58%, 82% and 87% respectively were female. Compared with French students, Romanian and Polish students experienced more stress/psychological distress, received less social support, and smokers smoked more intensively (ORs about 2.3). Drunkenness, impaired physical health or morale and suicidal ideation were more frequent (ORs 1.5-1.8) while tobacco use was less frequent (0.34) among Polish than among French students. Being uneasy, wanting to cry, having financial problems, and impaired physical health or morale were more frequent (ORs 1.5-4.9) among Romanian than among French students, in contrast to drunkenness (0.43). Both not using a motorcycle/cycle helmet and drink driving were less frequent among Polish students (ORs 0.06 and 0.47, respectively). Romanian students less frequently used tranquillisers (0.07) but were more likely not to use a condom during sexual intercourse (2.06). Finally, French students more frequently reported feeling isolated or dissatisfied with their integration into university. Conclusion: Poor health, substance use and lack of support were common but the risks greatly differed between Polish, Romanian and French students. There is a need to help students solve their integration problems and material difficulties. Health promotion on campus should provide appropriate advice, particularly for individuals at risk that takes account of the socio-economic and cultural context. [less ▲]

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See detailPsychological quality of life and its association with Academic Employability Skills among newly-registered students from three European faculties.
Baumann, Michèle UL; Ionescu, Ion; Chau, Nearkasen

in BMC Psychiatry (2011)

In accord with new European university reforms initiated by the Bologna Process, our objectives were to assess psychological quality of life (QoL) and to analyse its associations with academic ... [more ▼]

In accord with new European university reforms initiated by the Bologna Process, our objectives were to assess psychological quality of life (QoL) and to analyse its associations with academic employability skills (AES) among students from the Faculty of Language, Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education, Walferdange Luxembourg (F1, mostly vocational/applied courses); the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, Liege, Belgium (F2, mainly general courses); and the Faculty of Social Work, Iasi, Romania (F3, mainly vocational/professional courses). Method: Students who redoubled or who had studied at other universities were excluded. 355 newly-registered first-year students (145 from F1, 125 from F2, and 85 from F3) were invited to complete an online questionnaire (in French, German, English or Romanian) covering socioeconomic data, the AES scale and the QoL-psychological, QoL-social relationships and QoL-environment subscales as measured with the World Health Organisation Quality of Life short-form (WHOQoL-BREF) questionnaire. Analyses included multiple regressions with interactions. Results: QoL-psychological, QoL-social relationships and QoL-environment’ scores were highest in F1 (Luxembourg), and the QoL-psychological score in F2 (Belgium) was the lower. AES score was higher in F1 than in F3 (Romania). A positive link was found between QoL-psychological and AES for F1 (correlation coefficient 0.29, p < 0.01) and F3 (correlation coefficient 0.30, p < 0.05), but the association was negative for F2 (correlation coefficient -0.25, p < 0.01). QoL-psychological correlated positively with QoL-social relationships (regression coefficient 0.31, p < 0.001) and QoL-environment (regression coefficient 0.35, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Psychological quality of life is associated with acquisition of skills that increase employability from the faculties offering vocational/applied/professional courses in Luxembourg and Romania, but not their academically orientated Belgian counterparts. In the context of developing a European Higher Educational Area, these measurements are major indicators that can be used as a guide to promoting programs geared towards counseling, improvement of the social environment, and services to assist with university work and facilitate achievement of future professional projects. Keywords: students WHOQoL-BREF, QoL-psychological, employability, academic skills, QoL-environmental, QoLsocial relationships [less ▲]

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