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Psychol Med. 2016 Oct;46(14):2955-2970. Epub 2016 Aug 3.

Mental disorders among college students in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry,Harvard Medical School,Boston, MA,USA.
2
Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques (IMIM),Barcelona,Spain.
3
Department of Sociology,Population Studies Center, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan,Ann Arbor, MI,USA.
4
Department of Clinical, Neuro, and Developmental Psychology,Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,Amsterdam,The Netherlands.
5
Department of Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy,Friedrich-Alexander University Nuremberg-Erlangen,Erlangen,Germany.
6
School of Education, Boston University,Boston, MA,USA.
7
Department of Health Care Policy,Harvard Medical School,Boston, MA,USA.
8
Department of Epidemiology,Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health,Boston, MA,USA.
9
Research Group Psychiatry,Department of Neurosciences,KU Leuven University,Leuven,Belgium.
10
Department of Psychology,Harvard University,Cambridge, MA,USA.
11
University of California Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities,School of Medicine,Sacramento, CA,USA.
12
College of Medicine, Al-Qadisiya University,Diwania Governorate,Iraq.
13
Section of Psychiatric Epidemiology - LIM 23,Institute of Psychiatry, University of São Paulo Medical School,São Paulo,Brazil.
14
Department of Epidemiologic and Psychosocial Research,National Institute of Psychiatry Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz,Mexico City,Mexico.
15
Chronic Diseases Research Center (CEDOC) and Department of Mental Health,Faculdade de Ciências Médicas,Universidade Nova de Lisboa,Lisbon,Portugal.
16
Department of Psychiatry,University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven,Leuven,Belgium.
17
National School of Public Health, Management and Professional Development,Bucharest,Romania.
18
IRCCS St John of God Clinical Research Centre,Brescia,Italy.
19
Department of Psychiatry,University College Hospital,Ibadan,Nigeria.
20
Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, CIBERSAM, Universitat de Barcelona,Barcelona,Spain.
21
Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology,Faculty of Medicine,Balamand University,Beirut,Lebanon.
22
Department of Psychiatry,Wroclaw Medical University,Wroclaw,Poland.
23
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique (EHESP), EA 4057 Paris Descartes University,Paris,France.
24
Department of Psychiatry,Chinese University of Hong Kong,Tai Po,Hong Kong.
25
Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, The Park Centre for Mental Health,Wacol,Queensland,Australia.
26
School of Psychology, University of Ulster,Londonderry,UK.
27
Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan,Ann Arbor, MI,USA.
28
Department of Psychological Medicine,University of Otago,Dunedin,Otago,New Zealand.
29
Trimbos-Instituut, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction,Utrecht,the Netherlands.
30
Center for Excellence on Research in Mental Health, CES University,Medellín,Colombia.
31
Department Mental Health,National Center of Public Health and Analyses,Sofia,Bulgaria.
32
Universitair Psychiatrisch Centrum - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (UPC-KUL),Campus Gasthuisberg,Leuven,Belgium.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although mental disorders are significant predictors of educational attainment throughout the entire educational career, most research on mental disorders among students has focused on the primary and secondary school years.

METHOD:

The World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys were used to examine the associations of mental disorders with college entry and attrition by comparing college students (n = 1572) and non-students in the same age range (18-22 years; n = 4178), including non-students who recently left college without graduating (n = 702) based on surveys in 21 countries (four low/lower-middle income, five upper-middle-income, one lower-middle or upper-middle at the times of two different surveys, and 11 high income). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence and age-of-onset of DSM-IV anxiety, mood, behavioral and substance disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).

RESULTS:

One-fifth (20.3%) of college students had 12-month DSM-IV/CIDI disorders; 83.1% of these cases had pre-matriculation onsets. Disorders with pre-matriculation onsets were more important than those with post-matriculation onsets in predicting subsequent college attrition, with substance disorders and, among women, major depression the most important such disorders. Only 16.4% of students with 12-month disorders received any 12-month healthcare treatment for their mental disorders.

CONCLUSIONS:

Mental disorders are common among college students, have onsets that mostly occur prior to college entry, in the case of pre-matriculation disorders are associated with college attrition, and are typically untreated. Detection and effective treatment of these disorders early in the college career might reduce attrition and improve educational and psychosocial functioning.

KEYWORDS:

College attrition; college dropout; education; epidemiology; mental illness

PMID:
27484622
PMCID:
PMC5129654
DOI:
10.1017/S0033291716001665
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Interest In the past three years, Dr. Kessler has served as a consultant for or received research support from Johnson & Johnson Wellness and Prevention, the Lake Nona Life Project, and Shire Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Kessler is a co-owner of DataStat, Inc., a market research company that carries out healthcare research. The other authors report no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest. Dr. Demyttenaere has served on advisory boards and speaker bureaus with Astra Zeneca, Eli Lilly, Lundbeck, Johnson & Johnson, Naurex and Servier. Dr. Demyttenaere has received grants from Eli Lilly, Fonds Ga Voor Geluk and Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaandereden.

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