Study Shows That First-Year Students Are More Likely to Develop Anxiety and Depression

A study from Canada and the U.K has found that about one-third of first-year college students face depression and anxiety. The researchers also found that students using the medication without prescriptions in college have a higher chance of developing mental health issues by the year-end.

It is not uncommon for young people to develop mental health problems while in college. The most common disorders they develop are internalizing disorders like depression and anxiety. For this reason, the researchers found ways to help students dealing with mental illness.

According to the team, it is common for students in their first year to experience moderate to severe anxiety. They also point out that using drugs increases the risk of developing these illnesses. However, university connectedness reduces the likelihood.

How researchers conducted the study

The team gathered data from about 5 245 students in their first year at a Kingston, Ontario, Canada public university in 2018. They asked about their mental health two weeks before starting school and two weeks before their exams.

The researchers also asked the volunteers for additional information such as emotional, physical, and sexual abuse to determine other reasons for mental illness. Afterward, they assessed the students’ sense of belonging with their friends and the school with the College Student Wellbeing scale.

The team looked into the students’ alcohol consumption to determine if it would increase the severity of mental illness. They also considered the use of psychedelics, painkillers, cannabis, and stimulants, or sleeping pill without a prescription.

Depression rose before the exam period 

When the academic year started, about 27% of the volunteers experienced depression, while 32% had anxiety. When the researchers assessed them before their exam, about 33% had depression, and 37% had anxiety.

The researchers also found that students who had previously dealt with mental illness had a more difficult time recovering. Furthermore, students with more connectedness to their friends and university life were more likely to recover.

Recovery for anxiety increased by 14%, while recovery for depression increased by 18% for one more point on the College Student Wellbeing scale. The likelihood of developing anxiety and depression increased by 16% for students who used drugs.

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