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J Psychiatr Res. 2013 Mar;47(3):391-400. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.11.015. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

A systematic review of studies of depression prevalence in university students.

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Community Health School, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Asyut, Egypt; Division of Epidemiology, Community Health Sciences School, D Floor, West Block, Queens Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK. Electronic address:



Depression is a common health problem, ranking third after cardiac and respiratory diseases as a major cause of disability. There is evidence to suggest that university students are at higher risk of depression, despite being a socially advantaged population, but the reported rates have shown wide variability across settings.


To explore the prevalence of depression in university students.


PubMed, PsycINFO, BioMed Central and Medline were searched to identify studies published between 1990 and 2010 reporting on depression prevalence among university students. Searches used a combination of the terms depression, depressive symptoms, depressive disorders, prevalence, university students, college students, undergraduate students, adolescents and/or young adults. Studies were evaluated with a quality rating.


Twenty-four articles were identified that met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Reported prevalence rates ranged from 10% to 85% with a weighted mean prevalence of 30.6%.


The results suggest that university students experience rates of depression that are substantially higher than those found in the general population. Study quality has not improved since 1990.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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