Psychological distress in university students: A comparison with general population data

Stallman, Helen M. (2010) Psychological distress in university students: A comparison with general population data. Australian Psychologist, 45 4: 249-257. doi:10.1080/00050067.2010.482109

Author Stallman, Helen M.
Title Psychological distress in university students: A comparison with general population data
Journal name Australian Psychologist   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0005-0067
Publication date 2010-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/00050067.2010.482109
Volume 45
Issue 4
Start page 249
End page 257
Total pages 9
Editor Nancy A. Pachana
Place of publication London, U.K.
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: While the mental health of university students is recognised internationally as an important public health issue, more epidemiological data are needed that allows benchmarking with general population data.

Methods: All enrolled students from two large Australian universities were invited to complete a web-based survey. Anxiety-mood disorders were assessed using the Kessler 10. A total of 6,479 students participated in the study with sociodemographics generally consistent with the university population.

Results: The estimated prevalence for mental health problems was 19.2% with 67.4% reporting subsyndromal symptoms. These rates were significantly higher than the general population. Psychological distress was associated with disability and lower academic achievement. Predictors of distress included: full-time status, financial stress, being aged between and 18 and 34 years, being female, and in a subsequent undergraduate year of their degree.

Conclusions: The extremely high prevalence of mental health problems in university students provides evidence for this being an at-risk population. Implications: The results highlight the need for universal early interventions to prevent the development of severe mental illness in university students.
© The Australian Psychological Society Ltd.
Keyword Mental health
Psychological distress
University and college students
Screening scales
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 81 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 105 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 22 Nov 2010, 09:47:29 EST by Helen Stallman on behalf of School of Medicine