Depressive symptoms and social demographic, stress and health risk behaviour among university students in 26 low-, middle- and high income countries

SOURCE: International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): K.Peltzer, S.Pengpid
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8983
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/1644

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The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and association between depressive symptoms, sociodemographic, social and health risk variables among undergraduate students in 26 low, middle and high income countries. Using anonymous questionnaires, data were collected from 20222 undergraduate university students (mean age 20.8, SD = 2.8) from 27 universities in 26 countries in Africa, Asia, Caribbean and Latin America. Overall study participants had a prevalence of 24.0% moderate and 12.8 % severe depressive symptoms. In multivariate logistic regression, demographic and social variables (being female gender, low organised religious activity, lack of social support and lack of personal control), stressful or traumatic life events (sexual violence and physical child abuse) and health risk behaviour (tobacco use, insufficient brushing of teeth, irregular sleep duration, increased salt intake, infrequent meals a day, heavy internet use and having sustained an injury) were associated with severe depressive symptoms. High rates of depressive symptoms were found. Several risk factors including social and health risk behaviour variables were identified which can be utilised in guiding interventions.