Mental health in american colleges and universities: Variation across student subgroups and across campuses

†Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock
The Journal of nervous and mental disease (Impact Factor: 1.69). 01/2013; 201(1):60-7. DOI: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31827ab077
Source: PubMed


We estimated the prevalence and correlates of mental health problems among college students in the United States. In 2007 and 2009, we administered online surveys with brief mental health screens to random samples of students at 26 campuses nationwide. We used sample probability weights to adjust for survey nonresponse. A total of 14,175 students completed the survey, corresponding to a 44% participation rate. The prevalence of positive screens was 17.3% for depression, 4.1% for panic disorder, 7.0% for generalized anxiety, 6.3% for suicidal ideation, and 15.3% for nonsuicidal self-injury. Mental health problems were significantly associated with sex, race/ethnicity, religiosity, relationship status, living on campus, and financial situation. The prevalence of conditions varied substantially across the campuses, although campus-level variation was still a small proportion of overall variation in student mental health. The findings offer a starting point for identifying individual and contextual factors that may be useful to target in intervention strategies.

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    • "Students as a whole will vary in their experience with mental health challenges with some having a chronic mental illness that extends back to childhood, others having their first experience with mental illness, and a third understanding any experience related to mental illness more broadly as stress. Research shows college students often view themselves as stressed (Eisenberg et al., 2012); in this paper, perceived stress is viewed as an index of mental illness. Second, we expect desire to disclosure to be inversely associated with beliefs of keeping mental illness a secret. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between mental illness identity, shame, secrecy, public stigma, and disclosure amongst college students. Participants included 1393 college students from five postsecondary institutions. Methods: Structural equation modeling was used to examine two path models predicting disclosure and desire to join a program aiding with disclosure. Results: Variables found to be significant in predicting disclosure included mental illness identity and public stigma. In turn, desire for disclosure predicted desire to join a program aiding in disclosure. Gender and race/ethnic differences were observed, with men and Whites more likely to want to disclose a mental illness or join a program aiding with disclosure compared with women and non-Whites, respectively. Conclusions: These findings suggest that some college students may find programs aiding in disclosure useful in assisting them to achieve their desire to be "out" with their mental illness.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Mental Health
    • "Enhancing existing poor mental health literacy in young people may be expected to positively impact a number of outcomes including better identification of mental disorders, decreasing stigma and improving ability to access care (Kutcher et al., 2015, in press). Although interest in addressing mental health needs in post-secondary educational institutions is increasing (Eisenberg et al., 2013; Hanlon, 2012; MacKean, 2011; The Jed and Clinton Foundation, 2014; Wang et al., 2013), the on-campus enhancement of mental health literacy has been hampered by a lack of evidence-based resources. Transitions (2nd edition) (Kutcher, 2014) was developed to address this. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: The transition from high school to college or university is an important time to enhance mental health literacy for young people. This study evaluated the second edition of a resource entitled Transitions, a comprehensive life-skills resource with embedded mental health information available in book, e-book and iPhone app formats for post-secondary students.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Health Education Journal
    • "Finally, we integrate prior findings on seasonal and racial/ethnic group differences in the separate literatures on vitamin D sufficiency and depressive symptoms (Eisenberg et al., 2013; Ganji et al., 2010; Hollis, 2005; Norman, 1998). That is, we hypothesize that any differences in depressive symptoms by season or race/ethnicity will be explained in part by group differences in vitamin D levels (i.e., indirect effects). "
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    ABSTRACT: There have been few studies of whether vitamin D insufficiency is linked with depression in healthy young women despite women׳s high rates of both problems. Female undergraduates (n=185) living in the Pacific Northwest during fall, winter, and spring academic terms completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale weekly for 4 weeks (W1-W5). We measured serum levels of vitamin D3 and C (ascorbate; as a control variable) in blood samples collected at W1 and W5. Vitamin D insufficiency (<30ng/mL) was common at W1 (42%) and W5 (46%), and rates of clinically significant depressive symptoms (CES-D≥16) were 34-42% at W1-W5. Lower W1 vitamin D3 predicted clinically significant depressive symptoms across W1-W5 (β=-0.20, p<0.05), controlling for season, BMI, race/ethnicity, diet, exercise, and time outside. There was some evidence that lower levels of depressive symptoms in Fall participants (vs. Winter and Spring) were explained by their higher levels of vitamin D3. W1 depressive symptoms did not predict change in vitamin D3 levels from W1 to W5. Findings are consistent with a temporal association between low levels of vitamin D and clinically meaningful depressive symptoms. The preventive value of supplementation should be tested further. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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