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Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2011;23(3):199-203.

Screening for psychiatric illness among students of the University of the West Indies, Trinidad.

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Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, EWMSC, Mt Hope, Trinidad.



This cross-sectional observational study was performed in 2007 by convenience sampling of 1031 full-time undergraduate students registered in years 1, 2 and 3 in the academic year 2007/2008, administering a basic demographics questionnaire along with the standardised General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28) to each participant.


The population of full-time students at the University of the West Indies (UWI) was found to be mentally healthy (median GHQ score was 5.00; GHQ = 6 considered "mentally unhealthy"). However, median GHQ scores were lowest (4.00) in the Faculties of Medical Sciences and Social Sciences, but highest (6.00) in the Faculty of Humanities and Education. Furthermore, analysis showed that females were less mentally healthy than males attending the UWI. With regard to ethnicity, the African group was the most mentally healthy group whereas the group of mixed ethnicity was the least. Religion was also shown to significantly affect the GHQ (4.00 for Christians and Hindus, 6.00 for Muslims and 8.00 for those categorized as 'other'). Most interesting was the relationship of GHQ scores with the manner in which participants related to their lecturers, classmates, guardians, siblings and friends; it was found that the better one related to these people, the lower one's GHQ score was and hence one was considered more mentally healthy.


UWI full-time undergraduate students are mentally healthy, but gender, ethnicity, religion, quality of relationships and faculty of study still contribute to significant differences within the population. This allows high-risk individuals to be identified and indicates where steps can be taken to improve mental health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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