Depression and anxiety among college students at Historically Black and Predominantly White universities during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study

J Am Coll Health. 2023 Jul 24:1-8. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2023.2230297. Online ahead of print.


Objective: To assess depression and anxiety among college students during the COVID-19 pandemic and its association with race.

Participants: Using a cross-sectional survey, depression and anxiety among college students at a Predominantly White (PWU) and a Historically Black University (HBU) during 2021 were evaluated.

Methods: The patient health questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), general anxiety disorder-7 (GAD-7), and self-reported sociodemographic characteristics were collected. Chi-square and logistic regression tests examined differences in depression and anxiety based on race.

Results: Depression and anxiety among 3,102 students (87% female) were analyzed. Minority racial groups were associated with anxiety (p < 0.01) but not depression in the PWU. Moderately severe and severe depression was higher among the minority race at both the universities (1.76% compared to 0.53% at PWU, and 11.1% compared to 2.4% at HBU).

Conclusions: Depression and anxiety among college students is influenced by racial status. First-generation students were more likely to report depression in both HBU and PWU.

Keywords: Anxiety; COVID-19; college students; depression; minority race.