Depression, perceived control, and life satisfaction in university students from Central-Eastern and Western Europe

Int J Behav Med. 2004;11(1):27-36. doi: 10.1207/s15327558ijbm1101_4.


The poor health and psychological well-being of people in the former socialist states of Centeral-Eastern Europe are of serious concern and may be related to low perceived control. We compared depressive symptoms, life satisfaction, and self-rated health in 3,571 male and female university students from 5 Western European countries and 4,793 students from 5 Central-Eastern European countries. Depression scores (short Beck Depression Inventory; Beck & Beck, 1972) were higher in Central-Eastern than Western European samples. The prevalence of low life satisfaction was also greater in Central-Eastern Europeans, but ratings of self-rated health did not differ. Ratings of perceived control were diminished, but sense of mastery and internal health locus of control were higher in Central-Eastern Europe. Depression and low life satisfaction were associated with low perceived control and mastery and with strong beliefs in the influence of chance over health. However, taking these factors into account did not explain the East-West difference in depressive symptoms and low life satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Europe
  • Europe, Eastern
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Social Support
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires