A New US-UK Diagnostic Project: Mood Elevation and Depression in First-Year Undergraduates at Oxford and Stanford Universities

Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica (Impact Factor: 5.61). 08/2008; 118(1):81-5. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2008.01193.x
Source: PubMed


To investigate differences in prevalence of mood elevation, distress and depression among first-year undergraduates at Oxford and Stanford universities.
An online survey was sent to Oxford and Stanford first-year undergraduate students for two consecutive years in the winter of 2005 and 2006. Students completed a survey that assessed mood symptoms and medication use.
Both universities had similar rates of distress by General Health Questionnaire (Oxford - 42.4%; Stanford - 38.3%), depression by Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders (Oxford - 6.2%; Stanford - 6.6%), and psychotropic and non-psychotropic medication usage (psychotropic: Oxford - 1.5%; Stanford 3.5%; nonpsychotropic: Oxford - 13.3%; Stanford - 18%). Oxford had higher rates of mood elevation by Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) (Oxford - 4%; Stanford - 1.7%).
Oxford and Stanford students have similar rates of mood distress, depression and general medication usage. Students at Oxford have a higher prevalence of MDQ scores that possibly indicate a bipolar disorder, while Stanford students are prescribed more psychotropics.

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    • "udents were compared to young adults of the same age who were working and those who were not . Prevalence of major depressive disorders was clearly higher among non - student young adults . This is an interesting result since several studies focused on the well - being of students seldom used non - student samples for comparison groups ( e . g . , Chandler et al . , 2008"
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    ABSTRACT: To examine how occupational activities (work, school), separation from parents, environmental conditions, stressors ad social insertion affect on the prevalence of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and mental health care-seeking among young adults. Cross-sectional study conducted in two samples: 1) 19,136 subjective representative of the US non-institutionalized general population including 2082 18-26 y.o. subjects. 2) 2196 subjects representative of the students' population living on an university campus. Telephone interviews were realized using the Sleep-EVAL system to assess sleeping habits, general health, organic, sleep and mental disorders. One-month prevalence of depressed mood was similar between community and campus student groups (21.7% and 23.4%), and less common than for working (23.6%) and non-working (28.2%) young adults in the community. One-month MDD was found in 12.0% of non-working young people, compared with 6.6% of young workers, 3.2% of on-campus students and 4.1% of students in the general population (p < 0.01). Correlates for depressive mood and MDD such as female gender, dissatisfaction with social life, obesity, living with pain and other factors were identified across groups. A minority of on-campus (10.8%) and general population students (10.3%) had sought mental health services in the prior year. Individuals with MDD had higher rates of care-seeking than other young people (p < 0.001), high rates of psychotropic medication use (p < 0.001). Being a student appears to have a protective effect with respect to having depressive symptoms or MDD and seeking needed mental health care. Stress and social isolation were important determinants for depression among young adults.
    Journal of Psychiatric Research 10/2013; 49(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.10.002 · 3.96 Impact Factor
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    • "As all the individuals in this experiment were euthymic, decreased subjective responses to alcohol may be a trait marker for excessive alcohol consumption among individuals with the BPP. The BPP is relatively common (Chandler et al, 2008; Merikangas et al, 2007), so irrespective of the relationship to bipolar diagnoses, the present findings also suggest it may be important in identifying a common and important outcomeFalcohol misuse. "
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    ABSTRACT: Elevated lifetime prevalence rates of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are a feature of bipolar disorder (BD). Individuals at-risk for AUDs exhibit blunted subjective responses to alcohol (low levels of response), which may represent a biomarker for AUDs. Thus, individuals at-risk for BD may exhibit low responses to alcohol. Participants were 20 unmedicated adult males who reported high rates of hypomanic experiences (bipolar phenotype participants; BPPs), aged 18 to 21 years, and 20 healthy controls matched on age, gender, IQ, BMI, and weekly alcohol intake. Subjective and pharmacokinetic responses to acute alcohol (0.8 g/kg) vs placebo administration were collected in a randomized, double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled, within-subjects design. BPP participants reported significantly lower subjective intoxication effects ('feel high': F=14.2, p=0.001; 'feel effects': F=8.1, p=0.008) across time, but did not differ in their pharmacokinetic, stimulant, or sedative responses. Paradoxically, however, the BPP participants reported significantly higher expectations of the positive effects of alcohol than controls. Our results suggest that unmedicated young males with previous hypomanic experiences exhibit diminished subjective responses to alcohol. These blunted alcohol responses are not attributable to differences in weekly alcohol intake, pharmacokinetic effects (eg, absorption rates), or familial risk of AUDs. These observations suggest that the dampened intoxication may contribute to the increased rates of alcohol misuse in young people at-risk for BD, and suggest possible shared etiological factors in the development of AUDs and BD.
    Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 04/2012; 37(8):1808-15. DOI:10.1038/npp.2012.45 · 7.05 Impact Factor
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    • "That study included the HPS due to its long-standing application to undergraduate populations, and the MDQ because it has been extensively studied in clinical settings. The only study to use the MDQ in an undergraduate population did not include a diagnostic interview to examine correspondence between the MDQ and bipolar diagnoses (Chandler et al., 2008). The complete GBI is too long to serve as a screening measure, but we included a shortened version, the GBI-15 (Meyer & Johnson, 2003) based on the existing psychometric evidence for the 73-item version. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the usefulness of self-report scales for detecting bipolar disorder in several settings. Study 1 developed a short form of the Hypomanic Personality Scale (the HPS-6) based on clinic/community and undergraduate samples. Study 2 used this scale for recruiting participants with bipolar disorder from the community. Study 3 administered the full-length Hypomanic Personality Scale, the Mood Disorder Questionnaire, and a short form of the General Behavior Inventory (the GBI-15) to an undergraduate sample. Each study featured a reference standard diagnostic interview. In Study 2, about half of those responding to the advertisement (based on the HPS-6 developed in Study 1) reported a history of at least one hypomanic episode on a telephone-based SCID. In Study 3, the most robust findings emerged for the GBI-15: about one-third of participants screening positive on that measure met criteria for bipolar disorder using the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV (SCID). Despite large sample sizes and stratified sampling, this study was limited by a low number of participants with bipolar I disorder. These three studies produced mixed findings regarding the detection of bipolar disorder via self-report. The HPS-6 was reasonably successful in recruiting participants with a history of at least one manic or hypomanic episode into a study on bipolar disorder. The GBI-15 showed some promise as a screening tool in an undergraduate setting, but there is a need for more sensitive and specific scales. Discussion focuses on potential strategies for developing such scales.
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