Science & Technology

One-third of college students have moderate to severe depression / anxiety

Increased drug use associated with increased risk. Attribution leads to lower risk.

About one-third of college students have or have moderate to severe anxiety and / or depression, suggesting the first study of this type published in an open access journal. BMJ Open..

Increased use of prescriptions (unprescribed) and illegal drugs among people without mental health problems at the start of the course can develop significant levels of anxiety and depression by the end of the first year. The sex will be higher.

However, socializing and participating in student clubs, society and sports teams not only reduces the chances of developing serious symptoms, but also for those who already have symptoms of depression or anxiety at the start of the course. It will promote recovery.

The transition to college life coincides with the peak period of the emergence of mental illness, most of which (75%) begins in early adulthood, researchers say.

The most common of these disorders are anxiety and depression, known as “internalizing disorders.” This is because they are inwardly directed and experienced, often accompanied by sadness and loneliness.

Researchers want to know the factors that predict the recovery of students starting college with moderate to severe anxiety and depressive symptoms, and the factors that predict the appearance of these symptoms in existing first-year students without anxiety and depression. I thought.

Researchers used survey responses from a representative sample of first-year students enrolled in a large research-based public university in Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 2018.

The study explores factors previously related to student academic performance and mental health, two weeks before the first semester of September 2018 and two weeks before the start of the exam period in March 2019. Was provided.

Respondents also provided additional information on potentially influential factors. Childhood adversity such as divorce and sexual / physical / psychological abuse. Lifelong occurrence of mood disorders and anxiety disorders.

The College Student Health Scale is used to assess student attribution both on campus and with peers, and the Social Support Subscale of the Adolescent Resilience Scale is used to measure the level of social support. Used.

Alcohol amount and frequency; unprescribed sleeping pills and stimulants; cannabis; analgesics; opiates; psychedelics; other recreational drugs used by students were formally evaluated at both times.

Approximately 58% of eligible students completed the first round of surveys and ratings (3029 out of 5245), and 37% (1952) completed both sets.

Respondents’ prevalence of clinically significant anxiety and depressive symptoms was 32% and 27%, respectively, at the beginning of the 2018 academic year. These numbers have risen to 37% and 33%, respectively, by March 2019.

An analysis of recovery-related factors shows that students with a history of internalizing disorder at the start of the course are almost four times more likely not to recover from significant levels of anxiety / depressive symptoms than students without this history. Was shown.

However, students who feel college life or connections with peers are more likely to recover from depression and anxiety, which is 18% and 14% higher for each point increase on this scale.

As for the factors associated with the appearance of anxiety / depression during the first year, each 1 point increase in connectivity scale reduced the probability of developing depression and anxiety symptoms by 10% and 6%, respectively.

However, increased drug use was strongly associated with increased risk. For every 1 point increase in score in the range 0-24, there was a 16% increase in the probability of developing clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms.

Since this is an observational study, the cause cannot be determined. And the findings may not be more widely applicable to other universities in other countries, researchers point out.

They add that many interrelated factors, including biological, psychological, and social factors, influence the development and maintenance of mental health problems.

Nonetheless, findings have a significant impact on college mental health policies, programs, and practices, and the availability of club, social, and sporting activities is key to promoting student mental health and well-being. They suggest that it is likely.

They conclude that: “Moderate to severe anxiety and depressive symptoms are common among students enrolled in college and last for the first year. University ties reduce the risk of persistent or urgent symptoms. It is possible, but drug use seems to increase these risks. “

Reference: “Mental Health Trajectory of First-year Undergraduate Students: Longitudinal Cohort Study” November 30, 2021 BMJ Open..
DOI: 10.1136 / bmjopen-2020-047393

One-third of college students have moderate to severe depression / anxiety One-third of college students have moderate to severe depression / anxiety

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