UW EXP Study

UW EXP is a student health and wellness study. We use surveys and biometrics (phone and Fitbit data) to learn about how personal and academic stressors affect student wellness. This annual study adds to the growing field of biometric research. It guides University of Washington students and administration in addressing student stress and mental health to improve the Husky Experience


2. How do impacts of stress change behavior?

To address stress, we need to understand how it impacts students. What mechanisms (e.g. emotional, social, cognitive) and behaviors (e.g. sleep, exercise, drug use) link stress to student outcomes such as mental health and academic performance?

Our findings show that social support helps reduce negative impacts of stress on mental health.

4. Can biometric data track changes due to stress?

The granularity of the data we study is much higher with biometric data than self reports. Can biometric data be used to detect changes in mental health due to stressful events?

Our research shows that reduced sleep and increased time on screens are associated with stress.

1. What are the impacts of stress?

College can be very stressful, and this makes being a student harder. What are the psychological and social impacts of stressful experiences for students in the short and long term?

You are not alone if you find school to be stressful.

3. How can UW students reduce stress?

To help students, we need to know more about what protects students from the harmful impacts of stress and how the University can aid in this process. For example, how do university programs, club membership, and admission to major make dealing with stress harder or easier?

If you are struggling with school stress, reach out here for academic support or here for health resources.

5. What measurable effects does adversity have on student wellness?

Not all students arrive at UW with the same experience or have the same stressors to face. Some students deal with cumulative adversity (e.g. discrimination, trauma, and major life events). Can this be detected from phone data and wearable sensors? How does it impact the student experience and student outcomes?

The burden of discrimination, financial stress, and other adversity is real. Our findings show how important support is in dealing with these stressors. At the University of Washington, students can find support by joining student groups and accessing resources for health and wellness, academic support, and financial aid.

Click below to learn more about the UW EXP Study!

A Tech-Forward Approach

UW EXP uses data from surveys, phones, Fitbits, and more to capture a comprehensive understanding of the UW student experience.

Published Works

UW EXP is publishing our findings on how physical activity and sleep duration change when students report events of unfair treatment.

Overview of Findings

UW EXP is analyzing data from 2018 to understand who reports discrimination and how micro-climates in the College of Engineering may correlate with lower stress and depression.

Dr. Jennifer Mankoff, Principal Investigator

Eve Riskin, Co-Investigator

Anne Browning, Co-Investigator

Kevin Kuehn, Graduate Student

Pamphlet compiled by Addie Bjornson

Anind Dey, Co-Investigator

Paula Nurius, Co-Investigator

Yasaman Sefidgar, Graduate Student

Orson Xu, Graduate Student