Method. A web-based mental health survey was administered to first-year students in 19 colleges across eight countries (Australia, Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Spain, United States; 45.5% pooled response rate) to screen for seven common DSM-IV mental disorders: major depression, mania/hypomania, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, alcohol use disorder, and drug use disorder. We focus on the 14,348 respondents who provided complete data; 38.4% screened positive for at least one 12-month disorder.
Results. Multivariate disorder profiles were detected using latent class analysis (LCA). The least common class (C1; 1.9% of students) was made up of students with high comorbidity (four or more disorders, the majority including mania/hypomania). The remaining 12-month cases had profiles of internalizing-externalizing comorbidity (C2; 5.8%), internalizing comorbidity (C3; 14.6%), and pure disorders (C4; 16.1%). The 1.9% of students in C1 had much higher prevalence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors than other students. Specifically, 15.4% of students in C1 made a suicide attempt in the 12 months before the survey compared to 1.3-2.6% of students with disorders in C2-4, 0.2% of students with lifetime disorders but no 12-month disorders (C5), and 0.1% of students with no lifetime disorders (C6).
Conclusions. In line with prior research, comorbid mental disorders were common; however, socio-demographic correlates of LCA profiles were modest. The high level of comorbidity underscores the need to develop and test transdiagnostic approaches for treatment in college students.
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research|
|Early online date||18 Nov 2018|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 18 Nov 2018|
- college student mental health
- mental disorders
- suicide thoughts and behaviors