Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 651–657 | Cite as

Psychological Distress in Iranian International Students at an Australian University

  • Shizar Nahidi
  • Ilse Blignault
  • Andrew Hayen
  • Husna Razee
Original Paper


This study investigated psychological distress in Iranian international students at UNSW Australia, and explored the psychosocial factors associated with high levels of distress. A total of 180 Iranian international students pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate degrees during 2012/2013 completed an email questionnaire containing socio-demographic items and five standardized and validated scales. Multivariable logistic regression was used to analyse the predictors of psychological distress. Compared to domestic and international students at two other Australian universities, a significantly smaller proportion of Iranian international students scored as distressed on the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). Greater levels of psychological distress were associated with being female, poorer physical health, less social support, less religious involvement and spirituality, and negative attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help. Findings from this growing group of international students can help inform culturally competent mental health promotion and service provision in their host countries.


Mental health Psychological distress International students Iranian Australia 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Ethical Approval

Ethics approval was obtained from the Human Research Ethics Committee at UNSW Australia (HREC 10,397). All procedures involving human participants performed in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Health Research, School of MedicineWestern Sydney UniversityCampbelltownAustralia

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