Physical and Psychological Well-being of University Students: Survey of Eleven Faculties in Egypt
ABSTRACT We examined perceived health status and physical and psychological well-being of 3,271 undergraduate students attending eleven faculties in a university in Egypt.
During 2009-2010, participants completed a self-administered questionnaire that gathered socio-demographic, physical and psychological health data. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from students' measured height and weight. Differences across these variables were computed by gender and participating faculties.
Whilst more females watched and rated their health favorably, they were more likely to feel psychosomatic/physical health problems, to have seen a medical practitioner or been ill that they had to stay in bed. Females were consistently more likely to feel burdened overall, and across several aspects apart from financial problems. Less females had 'normal' BMI, were satisfied with current weight, perceived their body image as 'just right', or were not worried about their shape. More males rated their quality of life favorably. About 25% of males and 32% of females were either overweight/obese. Exams, presentations, and the lack of time for studies were the frequently-reported burdens. Comparisons of health/well-being indicators across the participating faculties suggested some evidence of 'clustering': Favorable indicators would cluster at some faculties; and conversely, less favorable variables would cluster at other faculties.
Generally, the levels of some health complaints and psychological problems/burdens are higher than in other countries. Increased vigilance of university administrators and leaders to monitoring the health and well-being of their students, as well as their health needs is required if policy makers are to operate from a valid evidence base platform. Given cultural factors prevalent in the Eastern Mediterranean region generally, female students might require particular attention. The clustering effects suggest the need for local (faculty-specific) health and well-being profiles as basis and guidance for relevant health promotion programs in faculty/university settings.
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ABSTRACT: There is a lack of research on Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug (ATOD) use in the Eastern Mediterranean region (EMR). We assessed four ATOD behaviors (risk factors; smoking, alcohol consumption behavior, one’s own illicit drug/s use, friend’s illicit drug/s use), two mental health indicators (depressive symptoms, perceived stress), two socio-demographic features (gender, age) and two policy variables (agree with smoking and alcohol bans at university). A self-administered questionnaire was completed by 3258 students at 11 faculties of Assiut University in Egypt (2009–2010). As for ATOD individual risk factors, about 8.8% of the participants smoked cigarettes (occasionally or daily), 3.8% reported “high frequency” alcohol use (a few times each week, every day and a few times each day), 4.5% had ever used illicit drugs, and 15.3% had a friend who used illicit drug/s. For ATOD multiple risk factors, 28.5% of the sample reported any ATOD risk factor, and 8.7% of the sample reported ≥2 risk factors, and the frequencies were significantly higher among males. Depressive symptoms were positively associated with illicit drug/s use and with having a friend/s who use illicit drug/s. Smoking was positively associated with one’s illicit drug/s use, but negatively associated with having a friend who use illicit drug/s. Higher frequency of alcohol use was positively associated with illicit drug/s use. Age and perceived stress were not associated with any of ATOD variables. These findings contribute to lack of research on ATOD use across the EMR, and provide a platform for planning prevention/intervention policies.Journal of Substance Use 06/2014; DOI:10.3109/14659891.2014.923533 · 0.48 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: University students are exposed to many stressors. We assessed the associations between two stressors (educational related and general overall), socio-demographic characteristics (five variables), health behaviours/lifestyle factors (six variables), as well as religiosity and quality of life as independent variables, with self-reported symptoms/health complaints as dependent variables (eight health complaints). A sample of 2100 undergraduate students from nine institutions (six universities, three colleges) located in seven cities in Libya completed a general health questionnaire. The most prevalent symptoms were headaches, depressive mood, difficulties to concentrate and sleep disorder/insomnia that have been reported by 50%-60% of the students. The majority of students (62%) reported having had three or more symptoms sometimes or very often in the last 12 months. There was a positive association between perceived stressors and health symptoms, which remained significant after adjustment for gender and many other relevant factors for headache (OR 1.52; 95% CI 1.15-2.02), depressive mood (OR 2.20; 95% CI 1.64-2.94) and sleep disorder/ insomnia (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.19-2.03). Other factors independently associated with most health symptoms were female gender and poor self-perceived health. Stress management programmes and a reduction of educational related stressors might help to prevent stress-related symptoms and health complaints in this student population.International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 12/2014; 11(12):12088-107. DOI:10.3390/ijerph111212088 · 1.99 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This cross-sectional survey assessed and compared by country, the levels and correlates of 21 self-reported symptoms/health complaints. We examined the associations between self-reported symptoms and perceived stress. Data was collected from universities in the United Kingdom and Egypt (N = 3706 and 3271 undergraduates, respectively). A self-administered questionnaire assessed a range of self-reported symptoms, perceived stress, sociodemographic (gender, age, marital status, year of study, living arrangements during semester, income sufficiency), lifestyle (tobacco smoking, illicit drug/s use, alcohol consumption frequency), and health variables (subjective health status, health awareness, BMI), along with religiosity, and quality of life. Factor analysis categorized the 21 self-reported symptoms into four components. Correlation analysis and linear regression tested the associations between the self-reported symptoms and stress. Factor analysis of the health symptoms generated four symptom groups for each of the UK and Egypt (psychological; circulatory/breathing; gastrointestinal; and, pains/aches), and factor loadings were quite similar for both countries. Whilst the two samples showed similarities as to the kind of symptoms most frequently reported by students, the Egyptian sample had significantly higher frequency than the UK for every symptom. Frequent complaints (both countries) included difficulties to concentrate, fatigue, headaches, nervousness/anxiety, and back pain (UK) and mood swings (Egypt). Significantly more Egyptian students reported ≥4 symptoms over the past year than the UK. For each of the UK and Egypt, across each of the four symptom groups, there was a stepladder appearance whereby the frequency of symptoms increased with increasing quartiles of perceived stress. Not controlling for other variables, for both countries, there were significant positive correlations between each of the four symptom groups and stress; the highest correlation was for psychological symptoms. After controlling for sex, age country, and other symptom groups, stress was highly and significantly associated with psychological symptoms and also with pain & aches symptoms in both countries. UK students were generally less stressed than their counterparts in Egypt. Age and female gender were also associated with stress; the younger the student was the more likely to suffer from stress. Interactions were not significant. Across both countries, the levels of stress among students and the associations between perceived stress and health complaints suggest the need for a multiple approaches in order to understand the sources of stress; how college students experience stress; and, the coping mechanisms that different students employ to mitigate stress. Interventions aimed at both preventing, treating and caring for students' distress, and also preventive strategies to help minimize the impact of stressful situations are required. Strategies that address both physical and psychological complaints may be beneficial for this population.International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 10/2014; 11(10):9981-10002. DOI:10.3390/ijerph111009981 · 1.99 Impact Factor