Psychiatric disorders in students in six French universities: 12-month prevalence, comorbidity, impairment and help-seeking
- 642 Downloads
Few studies have explored the prevalence of psychiatric disorders (PD) among university students. This article aims to study 12-month prevalence of PD in university students, their socio-economic correlates, impairment in daily life and help-seeking behaviours.
Cross-sectional study of randomly selected first-year students aged 18–24 years, enrolled in one of the six universities in south-eastern France in 2005–2006. We used the WHO CIDI-Short Form to derive DSM-IV diagnoses and the Sheehan disability scale to evaluate impairment. We studied their correlates with multiple logistic regressions.
The 12-month prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD), anxiety disorders (AD) and substance use disorders (SUD) were 8.9% (95% CI: 7.2–10.9), 15.7% (95% CI: 13.5–18.2) and 8.1% (95% CI: 6.7–9.8), respectively. MDD was associated with precarious economic situation (OR = 1.83; 95% CI: 1.03–3.23), AD with a precarious job or unemployment of the father (OR = 2.08; 95% CI: 1.04–4.14) and SUD with higher educational level of father (OR = 2.17; 95% CI: 1.28–3.67) or having a paid job (OR = 1.82; 95% CI: 1.06–3.13). “Marked” or “extreme” impairment (score ≥7 for at least one of the domains in the Sheehan scale) was noted for 51.7% of students presenting a PD and was even more frequent in the presence of MDD/AD comorbidity. Only 30.5% of the students with a PD had sought professional help in the past 12 months.
This study provides new results regarding university students suggesting a link between precarious economic situations and MDD. The frequent impairment arising from PD alongside low rates of help-seeking suggests that PD could be one of the factors in academic failure in first year of university. These results should be used to improve prevention and care of PD in university students in France.
KeywordsMental disorders Prevalence Universities Students
This study received funding from the Southeastern France Regional Council, the National Institute for Health Prevention and Education (INPES) and from the Public Health Direction of the city of Marseilles. We thank Angela Verdier for translating the manuscript into English.
- 3.Alonso J, Angermeyer M, Bernert S et al (2004) Use of mental health services in Europe: results from the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD) project. Acta Psychiatr Scand (Suppl 420):47–54Google Scholar
- 4.Alonso J, Angermeyer MC, Bernert S et al (2004) Prevalence of mental disorders in Europe: results from the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD) project. Acta Psychiatr Scand (Suppl 420):21–27Google Scholar
- 5.American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th edn (DSM IV). American Psychiatric Association, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
- 8.Bouhia R (2004) Les étudiants en classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles. Année 2003–2004. In: Ministère de l’éducation nationale. Direction de l’évaluation et de la prospective, ed. Note d’information. Vanves: Ministère de l’éducation nationale, enseignement supérieur, recherche:6Google Scholar
- 14.Haarasilta L, Marttunen M, Kaprio J, Aro H (2003) Major depressive episode and health care use among adolescents and young adults. Soc Psychiatry and Psychiatr Epidemiol 38:366–372Google Scholar
- 30.Pez O, Bitfoi A, Carta M et al (2006) Survey instruments and methods. In: Lavikainen J, Fryers T, Lehtinen V (eds) Improving mental health information in Europe. Proposal of the MINDFUL project. Stakes, EU, MINDFUL, Helsinki, pp 49–66Google Scholar
- 33.The European Opinion Research Group (2003) The mental health status of the European population. In: General SD (ed) Directorate-General Press and Communication “Opinion Polls, Europe Direct”. SANCO Directorate General, Brussels, p 27Google Scholar
- 35.Verger P, Combes J-B, Kovess-Masfety V et al (2008) Psychological distress in first year university students: socio-economic and acadaemic stressors, mastery and social support in young men and women. Soc Psychiatr Psychiatr Epidemiol (Epub ahead of print)Google Scholar