Depression in college: depressive symptoms and personality factors in Beijing and Hong Kong college freshmen

Compr Psychiatry. Sep-Oct 2008;49(5):496-502. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2008.02.005. Epub 2008 Mar 28.

Abstract

Objectives: The present study investigated the 2-week prevalence of depressive symptoms in college freshmen from Beijing and Hong Kong. The relationship between depression and 3 personality factors in these college freshmen was analyzed.

Method: Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Neuroticism, Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale, and Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale were administered to 988 Beijing and 802 Hong Kong Chinese college freshmen.

Results: Approximately 24.8% of freshmen in Beijing had scores on the CES-D exceeding 16, whereas 8.9% reported scores of 25 or higher. There was no sex difference in prevalence in Beijing. Approximately 43.9% of freshmen in Hong Kong had scores on the CES-D exceeding 16, whereas 17.6% reported scores of 25 or higher. The prevalence is significantly different between sexes in Hong Kong, with approximately 36.1% of men having scores of 16 or higher and 13.4% having scores of 25 or higher and approximately 50.7% of women having scores of 16 or higher and 21.3% having scores of 25 or higher. High neuroticism, concern over mistakes, doubts about actions, low self-esteem, and poor organization were associated with current depressive symptoms in both sites.

Conclusion: The higher prevalence of current depressive symptoms in college freshmen in Hong Kong suggests that their mental health is not as satisfactory as that of their counterparts in Beijing. The strong relationship between certain personality features and current depressive symptoms is similar in both regions. Personality differences in the 2 sites explain only part, but not all, of the difference in depressive symptoms between the 2 sites.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • China / epidemiology
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Neurotic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Factors
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uncertainty
  • Universities*