Library Dissertation Showcase

The prevalence of anxiety and depression within a tertiary educational student cohort and association with specific lifestyle factors

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2020

Background: University students fall within a high-risk category of developing psychological disorders, during a major transitional period in their lifetime. Whom face additional stressors due to an ever-evolving university student experience. These taken in coincidence with lifestyle factors. Students are not only at a high risk of developing psychological disorders but also potentially their short term and long-term health may be affected.

Methods: Consisted of mental health questionnaires GAD-7 and PHQ-9, for score determination. Haemodynamic measurements to determine resting heart rate and systolic blood pressure (BP) of participants. Phlebotomy and blood analysis, to determine participant haemoglobin, serum iron, ferritin, transferrin, CRP, and vitamin D levels. Analysed using the ABX Pentra 60+C haematology analyser and the ABX Pentra C400 a compact Clinical Chemistry benchtop analyser.

Results: Demonstrated that roughly a third of male and female participants were classes as having a generalized anxiety disorder or major depression. All students were vitamin D deficient. There was also association between many of the lifestyle factors, such as C-reactive protein, systolic blood pressure, heart rate, transferrin and anxiety and depression.

Conclusion: Depression and anxiety are not just of a psychological nature, but in fact involves many complex biological systems which also potentially affect the onset and symptom severity of anxiety and depression, involving the endocrine, nervous, and immune systems. Future studies are essential to understand the complexity of these integrated systems and potential impact on short and long-term health. Additionally, there is a clear critical need for additional support services for this high-risk population.

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