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Risk factors affecting the mental health of first-year university students on a health sciences campus and related factors

Saime Erol (Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey)
Kamer Gur (Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey)
Semra Karaca (Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey)
K. Burcu Çalık (Department of Healthcare Management, Faculty of Health Sciences, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey)
Arzu Uzuner (Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey)
Çiğdem Apaydın Kaya (Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 9 November 2022

Issue publication date: 2 February 2023

92

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to determine the mental health status and risk factors for the mental health of first-year university students on a health sciences campus.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a descriptive study. The research was conducted with first-year students in the health sciences, dentistry and medical faculties of a state university (n = 770). The data were collected with a sociodemographic questionnaire, the Risk Behavior of Young Adults Survey, the Bergen Insomnia Scale, General Health Questionnaire-28 and the Mental Health Improvement Scale. Body mass ındex was calculated.

Findings

Among the students, 53.7% experienced feelings of hopelessness in the last year and 1% had attempted suicide. The percentage of students found to be at risk in terms of mental health was 41.9%; 39.4% reported that they suffered from insomnia. It was found that those who had been subjected to bullying, felt hopelessness, had suicidal thoughts, planned to commit suicide and students who experienced sleeping problems were more at risk in terms of psychological issues (p < 0.01). Insomnia (β: 3.341) and smoking (β: 2.226) were identified as the strongest risk factors for mental health in first-year health sciences students (p < 0.005).

Practical implications

The results of the research offer an opportunity to get to know the characteristics of first-year university students who are at risk for mental health. It offers the opportunity to closely monitor and protect the mental health of students starting from the first grade.

Originality/value

In this study, it was determined that approximately half of the first-year university students were in the risk group in terms of mental health. Female gender, having a chronic illness, smoking a day or more in the past 30 days, not doing any physical activity, having a weak BMI, being bullied in the past 12 months, being cyberbullied in the past 12 months and having insomnia have been identified as risk factors that negatively affect mental health.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Credit authorship contribution statement: Design of work was done by KG, ÇAK, BÇ and SK; data collection was done by KG, BÇ and ÇAK; analysis of data was done by SE and ÇAK; SE and AU were involved in interpretation of data; preparation of manuscript was done by KG, SE, ÇAK, AU and SK; KG, ÇAK, SÇ, SE and AU were involved in drafting the work; ÇAK, SE and KG read and approved the final manuscript.

Declaration of competing interest: The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Funding: This research received no external funding.

Conflicts of interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Citation

Erol, S., Gur, K., Karaca, S., Çalık, K.B., Uzuner, A. and Apaydın Kaya, Ç. (2023), "Risk factors affecting the mental health of first-year university students on a health sciences campus and related factors", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 146-157. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-03-2022-0015

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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