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Depression In College Students Essay

1423 words - 6 pages

College brings many changes to a young adolescent. Moving away from parents and being on your own is the biggest and sometimes scariest step. This change for college students can sometimes be very dramatic and can often lead to depression. A column written by Michael Kerr (2012) reported that one out of every four-college student suffers from some sort of mental illness, depression being the most common. It also stated that 44 percent of American college students report having symptoms of depression. College is supposed to be a time of growth, learning and self-discovery. What factors play a contributing role to the rates of depression found in college students? Research by Nyer and ...view middle of the document...

Xueting, et al. (2013) “examined the role of perceived social support in the relationship between perfectionism and depression.” Their results showed that depression was significantly correlated with perceived social support and perfectionism. They found that perceived social support might have a protective effect in preventing perfectionists from experiencing depression. Studies conducted at Vanderbilt University by Michael Treadway (2009) stated that decreased cravings for pleasure to loss of interest or pleasure in rewarding activities could help explain poor academic performance of depressed college students. This is called anhedonia. College students with depression may be less likely to work for grade-orientated rewards. In this study, participants played a video game involving a hard button-pressing task and an easier button- pressing task to obtain greater or lesser monetary rewards. Researchers observed that participants with the symptoms of depression and loss of pleasure activities were less likely to attempt the harder task for a large reward. When students become overwhelmed by problems they do not know how to manage, they begin feeling hopeless, and this is when the depression arises.
When the sense of hopelessness arises in students, they often turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the feelings of stress and anxiety. Depression and alcohol are very closely related for a college student, especially during their first year. In a study done by Geisner, Mallet and Kilmer (2012) results indicated that depressive symptoms correlated with alcohol consumption. A large sample of 869 first year students were invited to participate through the internet in a survey which asked if one is depressed, if they turn to alcohol to ease the feelings of depression. Results also indicated that heavy, problem drinkers experienced higher scores of depression symptoms than all the other groups. Their findings indicate the importance of screening for both alcohol use and depressed moods in college students.
Another large factor to consider in college-aged depression is lack of sleep. In Journal of Adolescent Health by Aselton (2012) on sleep deprivation stated that “stress about school and life keeps 68 percent of students awake at night- 20 percent of them at least once a week” (Aselton, 2012). The article also stated that stress affects the quality of their sleep far more than caffeine, alcohol or late-night electronics use. In addition, more than 60 percent of college students have disturbed sleep-wake patterns (Nyer, et al., 2013). They may take drugs and alcohol regularly to help them do one or the other. Any prolonged sleep deprivation will affect energy level, mood and the ability to focus and concentrate, which can directly affect academic performance. A study conducted by Nyer et al., (2013) said that sleep disturbances have complex associations with depression. Their results found that students with depressive symptoms and sleep...

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