Exploring Students’ Emotional Well-Being in the Ideal University Hostel Using the Qualitative Repertory Grid Technique

Fanan Jameel, Ahmed Agiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has lent urgency to ongoing discussions on mental well-being, particularly among university students. While standard techniques are available to diagnose mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and stress, ambiguity persists regarding the emotional aspect of well-being. Emotional well-being (EWB) is a recently developed concept that seeks to understand the contribution of emotions to one’s well-being. Interactive approaches for such investigations are recommended to understand people’s contextual experiences in the built environment. This study utilizes a qualitative approach, underpinned by personal construct theory (PCT) and the qualitative repertory grid technique (RGT), to understand how university hostel designs can contribute to students’ emotional well-being. We interviewed fifteen students from the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and obtained their perceptions of three built environments they experienced and an ideal place they imagined. The results unveiled design-related factors associated with students’ emotional constructs and elucidated characteristics of an ‘ideal’ hostel in response to these emotional constructs. These findings enrich our knowledge of EWB within university hostels offering insights for the future design that consider the emotional aspect of well-being for residents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6724
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • emotional well-being
  • ideal university hostel
  • personal construct theory
  • qualitative repertory grid technique
  • students’ perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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