The Role of Social Support and Socioeconomic Factors in the Prediction of Depression among First-Year Undergraduate Students

Depress Res Treat. 2023 Aug 5:2023:3993304. doi: 10.1155/2023/3993304. eCollection 2023.

Abstract

Aim: This study was devoted to determining the role of social support and socioeconomic factors in predicting students' depression.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, all first-year undergraduate students in the Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Iran, during the 2019-2020 academic year were included via the census method. Data collection tools include a researcher-made checklist about demographic and socioeconomic status, a standard questionnaire of perceived social support, and Beck's depression questionnaire. Smoothly clipped absolute deviation (SCAD) linear regression was used to model the role of social support and socioeconomic factors in predicting depression.

Results: Out of the 220 first-year undergraduate students, 174 (79.1%) were female, and 176 (80.0%) were single. The mean ± SD of depression score among the first-year undergraduate students was 10.56 ± 5.19, and the mean ± SD of social support score was 48.86 ± 5.46. The mean score of depression was significantly higher in female students than in males (11.09 versus 8.59, P = 0.001) but was not statistically significant in different categories of age (P = 0.70), marital status (P = 0.37), ethnicity (P = 0.10), parents' education, and the other demographic variables. Pearson's correlation showed an inverse and significant correlation between depression and social support (R = -0.20, P = 0.003). The mean score of depression was at the highest level for students of public health and environmental health majors and was the lowest for students of laboratory sciences, which was statistically significant (P < 0.001). After adjusting the other variables, SCAD regression showed that social support plays a key role in depression prediction, and increasing social support leads to a decrease in depression score.

Conclusion: Considering the existence of an inverse and significant correlation between depression and social support, any intervention to promote social support for first-year undergraduate students may decrease depression.