Prior and current perceptions of noise exposure: effects on university students' wellbeing and attainment

Extensive research shows that noise influences the cognitive performance of school children. This is especially true for aircraft noise exposure. In contrast, effects of noise on children’s wellbeing appear to be less robust. There is also extensive research that a child’s exposure to negative events can influence their later wellbeing and attainment. The present study is part of a programme of research examining factors which influence university students’ wellbeing and attainment. In the present study 327 undergraduate students completed a survey measuring noise exposure when they were at primary and secondary school and also their current exposure to different types of noise. Wellbeing was assessed using the Student Wellbeing Process Questionnaire. Academic attainment was measured using results from coursework and exams to provide a grade point average score. Analyses showed that perceived current noise was not associated with wellbeing or attainment. Perceptions of exposure to aircraft noise as a child were associated with lower GPA scores. This last result was interpreted in terms of an effect of prior noise exposure on motivation to learn.
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