Key characteristics including sex, sexual orientation and internet use associated with worse mental health among university students in Brazil and implications

Waléria de Paula, João Marcos Pereira, Nathalia Sernizon Guimarães, Brian Godman, Renata Cristina Rezende Macedo do Nascimento, Adriana Lúcia Meireles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The symptoms of anxiety and depression disorders are multifactorial and can trigger a series of problems especially among university students. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and associated factors with anxiety and depression symptoms among first-semester university students at a Federal University in Brazil given the paucity of such data and the first semester is the most stressfultime. METHODS: Cross-sectional study with first-semester university students. The questionnaire included socio-demographic variables, lifestyles, health conditions and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales. Descriptive analysis was performed, followed by bivariate analysis and Poisson regression analysis. RESULTS: Three hundred and fifty-six students (65.2%) across a range of courses in their first semester participated. The prevalence of anxiety was 42.5% and depression 33.2%. Regarding symptoms of anxiety and depression disorders, a positive association was observed among females, non-heterosexual, non-white skin color, excessive internet use, lack of physical activity, not attending university parties, having psychological counseling, history of anxiety in first- or second-degree relatives, poor self-rated health and use of psychotropic medicines. CONCLUSIONS: Due to the high prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms, the importance of developing programs to promote mental and physical health of university students is highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e487-e498
JournalJournal of Public Health
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Brazil
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • first-semester university students
  • prevalence
  • universities

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