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J Am Coll Health. 2012;60(2):126-33. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2011.608393.

The relationship of level of positive mental health with current mental disorders in predicting suicidal behavior and academic impairment in college students.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.



To investigate whether level of positive mental health complements mental illness in predicting students at risk for suicidal behavior and impaired academic performance.


A sample of 5,689 college students participated in the 2007 Healthy Minds Study and completed an Internet survey that included the Mental Health Continuum-Short Form and the Patient Health Questionnaire screening scales for depression and anxiety disorders, questions about suicide ideation, plans, and attempts, and academic impairment.


Just under half (49.3%) of students were flourishing and did not screen positive for a mental disorder. Among students who did, and those who did not, screen for a mental disorder, suicidal behavior and impaired academic performance were lowest in those with flourishing, higher among those with moderate, and highest in those with languishing mental health.


Positive mental health complements mental disorder screening in mental health surveillance and prediction of suicidal behavior and impairment of academic performance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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