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J Abnorm Psychol. 2018 Oct;127(7):623-638. doi: 10.1037/abn0000362. Epub 2018 Sep 13.

WHO World Mental Health Surveys International College Student Project: Prevalence and distribution of mental disorders.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry.
2
Universitair Psychiatrisch Centrum - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (UPC-KUL), Campus Gasthuisberg.
3
Health Services Research Unit, IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute).
4
Department of Epidemiologic and Psychosocial Research, National Institute of Psychiatry Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz.
5
Department of Clinical, Neuro and Developmental Psychology, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
6
Department for Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen Nuremberg.
7
School of Education, Boston University.
8
School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University.
9
School of Biomedical Sciences, Ulster University.
10
Department of Psychology, Harvard University.
11
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.
12
Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School.
13
Department of Psychiatry, University of Cape Town.
14
Harvard Medical School.

Abstract

Increasingly, colleges across the world are contending with rising rates of mental disorders, and in many cases, the demand for services on campus far exceeds the available resources. The present study reports initial results from the first stage of the WHO World Mental Health International College Student project, in which a series of surveys in 19 colleges across 8 countries (Australia, Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Spain, United States) were carried out with the aim of estimating prevalence and basic sociodemographic correlates of common mental disorders among first-year college students. Web-based self-report questionnaires administered to incoming first-year students (45.5% pooled response rate) screened for six common lifetime and 12-month DSM-IV mental disorders: major depression, mania/hypomania, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, alcohol use disorder, and substance use disorder. We focus on the 13,984 respondents who were full-time students: 35% of whom screened positive for at least one of the common lifetime disorders assessed and 31% screened positive for at least one 12-month disorder. Syndromes typically had onsets in early to middle adolescence and persisted into the year of the survey. Although relatively modest, the strongest correlates of screening positive were older age, female sex, unmarried-deceased parents, no religious affiliation, nonheterosexual identification and behavior, low secondary school ranking, and extrinsic motivation for college enrollment. The weakness of these associations means that the syndromes considered are widely distributed with respect to these variables in the student population. Although the extent to which cost-effective treatment would reduce these risks is unclear, the high level of need for mental health services implied by these results represents a major challenge to institutions of higher education and governments. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

PMID:
30211576
PMCID:
PMC6193834
[Available on 2019-10-01]
DOI:
10.1037/abn0000362
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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