Submission Title

Depression and Anxiety Are Not the Same: Mental Health and College Student Well-Being over Time

Location

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

Subject Area

Psychology

Description

Moving to college is an important transition in many young people’s lives. As such, colleges offer programming to aid students in their adjustment to college life. These programs often have a dual focus: preparing students academically as well as socially. Too often, however, it seems that the academic focus becomes the priority, to the detriment of aiding student well-being. We are interested in how these programs can best meet student needs with respect to their social and emotional development. Using data collected from incoming college students at a small, residential college (N=130), we investigated how mental health and well-being changed over an eight-week period. Students who reported higher levels of depression showed decreases in self-reported subjective happiness and satisfaction with life. No similar association was found for anxiety. Students who came in with higher levels of subjective happiness decreased in depression over the eight-week period, though no effects were found for anxiety levels or predicted by subjective well-being. Intercorrelations suggest that students who score higher in depression and/or lower in subjective happiness have high levels of behavioral inhibition and lower levels of motivation, which may prevent them from engaging in campus life and building social support.

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Depression and Anxiety Are Not the Same: Mental Health and College Student Well-Being over Time

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

Moving to college is an important transition in many young people’s lives. As such, colleges offer programming to aid students in their adjustment to college life. These programs often have a dual focus: preparing students academically as well as socially. Too often, however, it seems that the academic focus becomes the priority, to the detriment of aiding student well-being. We are interested in how these programs can best meet student needs with respect to their social and emotional development. Using data collected from incoming college students at a small, residential college (N=130), we investigated how mental health and well-being changed over an eight-week period. Students who reported higher levels of depression showed decreases in self-reported subjective happiness and satisfaction with life. No similar association was found for anxiety. Students who came in with higher levels of subjective happiness decreased in depression over the eight-week period, though no effects were found for anxiety levels or predicted by subjective well-being. Intercorrelations suggest that students who score higher in depression and/or lower in subjective happiness have high levels of behavioral inhibition and lower levels of motivation, which may prevent them from engaging in campus life and building social support.