Prevalence and Correlates of Depression, Anxiety, and Suicidality Among.pdf

Prevalence and Correlates of Depression, Anxiety, and Suicidality Among.pdf

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Prevalence and Correlates of Depression, Anxiety, and Suicidality Among University Students Daniel Eisenberg, PhD, Sarah E. Gollust, BA, Ezra Golberstein, BA, and Jennifer L. Hefner, MPH University of Michigan Mental health among university students represents an important and growing public health concern for which epidemiological data are needed. A Web-based survey was administered to a random sample at a large public university with a demographic profile similar to the national student population. Depressive and anxiety disorders were assessed with the Patient Health Questionnaire (R. L. Spitzer, K. Kroenke, J. B. W. Williams, & the Patient Health Questionnaire Primary Care Study Group, 1999). Nonresponse weights were constructed with administrative data and a brief nonrespondent survey. The response rate was 56.6% ( N 2,843). The estimated prevalence of any depressive or anxiety disorder was 15.6% for undergraduates and 13.0% for graduate students. Suicidal ideation in the past 4 weeks was reported by 2% of students. Students reporting financial struggles were at higher risk for mental health problems (odds ratios 1.6–9.0). These findings highlight the need to address mental health in young adult populations, particularly among those of lower socioeconomic status. Campus communities reach over half of young adults and thus represent unique opportunities to address mental health issues in this important age group. Keywords: college students, university students, depression, anxiety, correlates Mental disorders are estimated to account for nearly one half of the total burden of disease for young adults in the United States (World Health Organization, 2002). In addition, a growing body of evidence suggests that mental health problems are numerous and increasing among students in institutions of higher education, which the majority of young adults attend (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2005a). For example, in a 2005 national survey of undergraduates, 10% re- ported “seriously considering attempting suicide” (American Col- lege Health Association, 2006), and in a 2005 national survey of college counseling center directors, 86% reported an increase in severe psychological problems among students (Gallagher, 2005). Mental health has been shown to vary across several character- istics in the general population (Kessler, Chiu, Demler, & Walters, 2005; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 1999), but less is known about potential risk factors within young adults, and student populations in particular. Much of the literature on risk factors among students has focused on suicidality and has found higher risks for students who are over age 25 or male undergrad- uates (Silverman, Meyer, Sloane, Raffel, & Pratt, 1997), have experienced sexual victimization (Stepakoff, 1998), are dealing with issues related to sexual identity or problematic relationships (Kisch, Leino, & Silverman, 2005), or are engaging in substance use (Brener, Hassan, & Barrios, 1999) or other risky behaviors (Barrios, Everett, Simon, & Brener, 2000). Lower socioeconomic
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