Undergraduate students are known to be a high-risk group for mental health problems. The purpose of this paper is to constitute a repeated cross-sectional study on the trend of depression over the years and factors associated with depression among undergraduates.
Cross-sectional data from five surveys between 2013 and 2020 (N = 1,578) among the undergraduates of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, a private university in Kampar Malaysia, were combined. The Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 was used to screen for depression. Cochran’s Armitage test was used to detect trend in depression. Logistic regression, random forest regression and extra gradient boosting regression were used to identify risk factors and classification.
The prevalence of depressive symptoms was found to be between 26.4% and 36.8% between the years with an average of 29.9%. There was no significant time trend in the prevalence. The risk of depressive symptoms was higher among female students, those who were dependent on family for financial support and those who were stressed.
Periodical screening for depression is warranted for the identification of students at risk for depression. Professional cognitive-behavioral therapies, peer support and consulting services should be made available to the students in need.
Depression among students had been studied widely, but the trend over years remains unexplored, especially in developing countries.
Acknowledgement: Sincere gratitude is conveyed to the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman and Faculty of Science Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman for all the support rendered. Sincere gratitude is conveyed to Ms Chiam Shiok Shin, Ms Leow Kar Yin, Ms Chang Yee Fong, Mr Chew Yee Ming, Mr Chin Chun Kit, Mr Tan Chong Eng and Mr Teh Yong Tend for assisting the data collection process for the study.
Cheong, W.S., Degeras, K., Suliman, K.R., Selvaraju, M. and Subramaniam, K. (2022), "The prevalence of depression among students in higher education institution: a repeated cross-sectional study", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 331-340. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-12-2021-0152
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