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INTRODUCTION: Over 30% of Canadians between the ages of 16 and 24 years attend university. This period of life coincides with the onset of common mental illnesses. Yet, data to inform university-based mental health prevention and early intervention initiatives are limited. The U-Flourish longitudinal study based out of Queen's University, Canada and involving Oxford University in the UK, is a student informed study funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (CIHR-SPOR). The primary goal of U-Flourish research is to examine the contribution of risk and resiliency factors to outcomes of well-being and academic success in first year students transitioning to university. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The study is a longitudinal survey of all first-year undergraduate students entering Queen's University in the fall term of 2018 (and will launch at Oxford University in fall of 2019). In accordance with the CIHR-SPOR definitions, students represent the target population (ie, patient equivalent). Student peer health educators were recruited to inform the design, content and implementation of the study. Baseline surveys of Queen's first year students were completed in the fall of 2018, and follow-up surveys at the end of first year in the spring of 2019. Extensive student-led engagement campaigns were used to maximise participation rates. The baseline survey included measures of personal factors, family factors, environmental factors, psychological and emotional health, and lifestyle factors. Main outcomes include self-reported indicators of mental health at follow-up and mental health service access, as well as objective measures of academic success through linkage to university administrative and academic databases. A combination of mixed effects regression techniques will be employed to determine associations between baseline predictive factors and mental health and academic outcomes. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was obtained by the Health Sciences and Affiliated Teaching Hospitals Research Ethics Board (HSREB) (#6023126) at Queen's University. Findings will be disseminated through international and national peer-reviewed scientific articles and other channels including student-driven support and advocacy groups, newsletters and social media.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





Mental health, academic outcomes, emergent adulthood, prevalence, psychopathology, student mental health, university