Event Title

A Three-Year Diary-Longitudinal Study of University Students’ Depressive Symptoms

Start Date

16-10-2009 11:00 AM

End Date

16-10-2009 12:30 PM

Description

By investigating university students’ trajectories of depressive symptoms based on multiple weekly or monthly time points, researchers can identify temporal effects such as high stress periods during the academic year and provide valuable information for planning interventions when students are most in need. Also, the higher prevalence of depression among women than men invites further investigation of gender differences over time. Our presentation is based on a longitudinal study on the relations between alcohol use, depression, and interpersonal conflict in a sample of university students in their first three academic years. We focus on depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory-II; BDI-II) to identify specific temporal patterns and time points that may influence depression levels.

A sample of 848 first years students (64.1% female) at a large university in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, completed an online baseline questionnaire one week after the beginning of classes in September 2006. Subsequently, a subset of 415 respondents participated in the second phase, consisting of 26 consecutive online weekly questionnaires from October 2006 to April 2007. A subset of 358 students participated in the third phase consisting of 24 consecutive months from May 2007 to April 2009. These weekly and monthly online assessments included the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II).

We describe the BDI-II score trajectories over the three-year period of the weekly and monthly assessments. We also report on the latent growth modelling analyses of the depressive symptom trajectories, including gender-based trajectories. The strongest trend was an initial decrease in reported depressive symptoms in the first part of the first semester. Gender difference analyses revealed similar trajectory shapes for men and women but with women scoring about 2 points higher than men at each time point. Implications of these results are discussed in reference to the empirical literature on depression.

More information about this study can be obtained from the lead author.

Paul F. Tremblay, PhD, received his doctorate in psychology (measurement) from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, in 1998. He is a scientist in the Social, Prevention, and Health Policy Research Department at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, an adjunct research professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Western Ontario, and an academic research associate at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children in London, Ontario. He conducts research on the experiences of conflict and aggression and their relations to drinking patterns, depressive symptoms, and personality dimensions.

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Oct 16th, 11:00 AM Oct 16th, 12:30 PM

A Three-Year Diary-Longitudinal Study of University Students’ Depressive Symptoms

By investigating university students’ trajectories of depressive symptoms based on multiple weekly or monthly time points, researchers can identify temporal effects such as high stress periods during the academic year and provide valuable information for planning interventions when students are most in need. Also, the higher prevalence of depression among women than men invites further investigation of gender differences over time. Our presentation is based on a longitudinal study on the relations between alcohol use, depression, and interpersonal conflict in a sample of university students in their first three academic years. We focus on depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory-II; BDI-II) to identify specific temporal patterns and time points that may influence depression levels.

A sample of 848 first years students (64.1% female) at a large university in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, completed an online baseline questionnaire one week after the beginning of classes in September 2006. Subsequently, a subset of 415 respondents participated in the second phase, consisting of 26 consecutive online weekly questionnaires from October 2006 to April 2007. A subset of 358 students participated in the third phase consisting of 24 consecutive months from May 2007 to April 2009. These weekly and monthly online assessments included the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II).

We describe the BDI-II score trajectories over the three-year period of the weekly and monthly assessments. We also report on the latent growth modelling analyses of the depressive symptom trajectories, including gender-based trajectories. The strongest trend was an initial decrease in reported depressive symptoms in the first part of the first semester. Gender difference analyses revealed similar trajectory shapes for men and women but with women scoring about 2 points higher than men at each time point. Implications of these results are discussed in reference to the empirical literature on depression.

More information about this study can be obtained from the lead author.

Paul F. Tremblay, PhD, received his doctorate in psychology (measurement) from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, in 1998. He is a scientist in the Social, Prevention, and Health Policy Research Department at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, an adjunct research professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Western Ontario, and an academic research associate at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children in London, Ontario. He conducts research on the experiences of conflict and aggression and their relations to drinking patterns, depressive symptoms, and personality dimensions.