Prevalence and correlates of depression, anxiety, and suicidality among university students

Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2007 Oct;77(4):534-42. doi: 10.1037/0002-9432.77.4.534.


Mental health among university students represents an important and growing public health concern for which epidemiological data are needed. A Web-based survey was administered to a random sample at a large public university with a demographic profile similar to the national student population. Depressive and anxiety disorders were assessed with the Patient Health Questionnaire (R. L. Spitzer, K. Kroenke, J. B. W. Williams, & the Patient Health Questionnaire Primary Care Study Group, 1999). Nonresponse weights were constructed with administrative data and a brief non-respondent survey. The response rate was 56.6% (N = 2,843). The estimated prevalence of any depressive or anxiety disorder was 15.6% for undergraduates and 13.0% for graduate students. Suicidal ideation in the past 4 weeks was reported by 2% of students. Students reporting financial struggles were at higher risk for mental health problems (odds ratios = 1.6-9.0). These findings highlight the need to address mental health in young adult populations, particularly among those of lower socioeconomic status. Campus communities reach over half of young adults and thus represent unique opportunities to address mental health issues in this important age group.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities*