Survey Research

About HBS Survey Research


From 2013-2015, HBS was administered as a separate online survey. Beginning in fall 2015, HBS has been incorporated as a component of the newly enhanced Healthy Minds Network (HMN) annual survey. This survey is an amalgamation of HBS and HMN’s other major survey, the Healthy Minds Study. Based on years of feedback from participating institutions, HMN’s surveys have been re-designed as a set of modules each covering important topics related to campus mental health. In essence, HBS is now a module within HMN’s new and improved survey!

Survey Topics

POSSEColleges and universities customize the survey by choosing from a menu of elective modules to cover in depth, in addition to three core modules that all campuses cover (Demographics/Basic Characteristics, Mental Health Status, Service Use/Help-Seeking). The elective modules include, for example: Eating and Body Image, Substance Use, and Predictors of Student Persistence and Retention. Certain items are included within the standard modules if the elective module on that topic is not selected. In other words, a small number of items about important topics are included in the survey even if the elective module on that topic is not selected. This ensures that institutions have basic information about important topics that are not selected for in-depth assessment through elective modules. For example, if an institution does not select the Eating and Body Image module, a small number of items about eating and body image are included in the Mental Health Status module.

The Eating and Body Image module retains the comprehensiveness of HBS, as previously administered, while allowing for further examination of correlations across survey topics (e.g., the prevalence of co-occurring disordered eating and self-injurious behavior, or the relationship between eating pathology and experiences of sexual assault). The Eating and Body Image module includes several validated screening tools as well as other items of interest to administrators, clinicians, and researchers. The Weight Concerns Scale is used to assess body image dissatisfaction, while the SCOFF and Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaires are used to assess eating pathology (including binge eating and purging behavior).

Survey Participation

7350944894_9df28ebc80The survey is available for implementation at all types of colleges and universities, including two- and four-year U.S. and international institutions. The survey is hosted online and the instrument is maintained and customized by the HMN research team at University of Michigan. Data are securely stored on the HMN servers. All research is approved by the University of Michigan Health Sciences and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board. Participants and researchers are further protected by a Certificate of Confidentiality from the National Institutes of Health.

The survey is administered to a randomly selected sample of undergraduate and graduate students. Based on embedded skip logic, some of the measures above are assessed only for students with certain responses to survey items. Students may skip any questions that make them uncomfortable, or that they simply do not wish to answer.

Benefits of Participation

Participation brings numerous benefits for colleges and universities. Campus administrators can use the research/data in many ways, including:

  • To assess need in the student population
  • To raise awareness
  • To strengthen grant applications
  • To advocate for mental health services and programs on campus
  • To evaluate existing programs (e.g., reductions in stigma following a major campaign)
  • To examine prevalence and correlates among sub-groups of students
  • To make comparisons with peer institutions

To help translate research-to-practice, HMN researchers provide participating campuses with the following: customized data sets and data reports; access to the HMN data interface; and a brief memo summarizing how their data can be translated to an economic case for mental health services and programs. In addition to these resources, the research team is available to discuss and help interpret data.  The team also offers free webinars to provide general guidance on interpreting and using the data most effectively.

For a copy of the 2014 HBS National Data Report, click HERE.

For a copy of the 2015 HBS National Data Report, click HERE.

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