Research Blog #4
March 7, 2017
Working Title: An Increase of Mental Illness Amongst College Students
I will explore the increase in depression and anxiety amongst college students in the United States, as well as in Britain. In the past ten years depression and anxiety high skyrocketed in the university population. This increase can be brought about by a variety of factors, which range from the mere increase of students who chose to attend college to the fact that more colleges across the nation are becoming privatized. It is important that colleges acknowledge this increase in order for them to provide the necessary help to their students.
To what extent has depression and anxiety increased in college students and why has this increase occurred? How are colleges taking action in dealing with this epidemic?
There is evidence to prove that the increase in depression and anxiety is likely due to outside stressors, not just a student’s predisposition for a mental illness. Higher education is bringing about overwhelming levels of stress to all aspects of a student’s life. In Dana Becker’s book she mentions that social problems are an inside job that cause stress to many people. Americans, however, take the social stressors causing their problems and try to face it on an individual level basis. It makes no sense to continue providing individual treatment options when the problems themselves are much larger scaled than that. In an article “"Anxiety: the epidemic sweeping through Generation Y” Rachael Dove explains some of these social problems that Becker brings awareness to. Dove gives examples such as social media and the fear of missing out, FOMO, as aspects of someone’s life that can cause them to experience anxiety. Another issue that can be influencing such high depression and anxiety rates in college students is the privatization of colleges. Privatization of higher education is on the rise in the United States and Britain, and so are depression and anxiety rates. According to Doves’ article, the most prevalent mental illness in Britain is Anxiety. I am curious to find out if college is a common ground for increased depression and anxiety in both the United States and Britain.
Research and Plan:
The study “Prevalence and Correlates of Depression, Anxiety, and Suicdality Among University Students” by Eisenberg et al., was a study that found an obvious increase in depression and anxiety amongst a college population. This study in particular found that students of a lower socioeconomic background were at a higher risk for mental health problems. With the adverse affects of privatization on students from a lower socioeconomic background, I believe there will be evidence that privatization of colleges can be increasing the prevalence of mental illness in this population. In the study “The relation of depression and anxiety to life-stress and achievement in students” Andrews and Wilding discuss the affects of depression and anxiety on academic performance once a student enters college. A direct correlation to depression and anxiety in this study, much like the one previously discussed, was financial difficulties. Privatization may not be the only thing contributing to the rise of mental illness in college students; the social aspect of drinking may also be contributing to it. In one study by Allan F. Williams, “Social drinking, anxiety, and depression” he writes that students were more likely to feel anxious and depressed during an after drinking. I plan to use evidence from this study once I gain complete access to it. In Amy Novotney’s article she discusses potential resources that will help students cope with anxiety and depression while in school. There is a device that helps log anxiety problems, and gives coping mechanisms. This helps reduce the waitlist time many universities are having issues with at mental health facilities.
Andrews, B., Wilding, J. “The relation of depression and anxiety to life-stress and achievement in students.” British Journal of Psychology, Vol. 95, 2004, pp. 509-521.
Becker, Dana. “Does ‘Stress’ Hide Deeper Social Problems?” Time Ideas. 13 Mar. 2013. http://ideas.time.com/2013/03/13/does-stress-hide-deeper-social-problems/. Accessed 22 Feb 2017.
Dove, Rachael. “Anxiety: the epidemic sweeping through Generation Y.” The Telegraph. 20 April 2015. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/health/anxiety-the-epidemic-sweeping-through-generation-y/. 22 Feb. 2017
Eisenberg, D., Gollust, S., Golberstein, E., Hefner, J. “Prevalence and Correlates of Depression, Anxiety, and Suicidality Among University Students. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol. 77, No. 4, 2007, pp. 534-542.
Novotney, Amy. "Students Under Pressure." American Psychological Association, vol. 45, No. 8, September 2014, pp. 36. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/09/cover-pressure.aspx. Accessed 26 February 2017.
Williams, A. “Social drinking, anxiety, and depression.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 3, No. 6, 1996, pp. 689-693.