Category: Depression-What you need to know
Aug 7, 2009 - According to new research, college students with depression are twice as likely as their classmates to drop out of school.
However, the research also indicates that lower grade point averages depended upon a student’s type of depression.
are two core symptoms of depression—loss of interest and pleasure in
activities, or depressed mood—but only loss of interest is associated
with lower grade point averages.
“The correlation between
depression and academic performance is mainly driven by loss of
interest in activities,” says Daniel Eisenberg, assistant professor in
the University of Michigan School of Public Health and principal
investigator of the study.
“This is significant because it
means individuals can be very depressed and very functional, depending
on which type of depression they have. I think that this can be true
for many high achieving people, who may feel down and hopeless but not
lose interest in activities.
“Lots of students who have
significant depression on some dimension are performing just fine, but
may be at risk and go unnoticed because there is no noticeable drop in
Students with both depression and anxiety had especially poor academic performance.
you take a student at the 50th percentile of the GPA distribution and
compare them to a student with depression alone, the depressed student
would be around the 37th percentile—a 13 percent drop,” Eisenberg said.
“However, a student with depression and anxiety plummets to about the 23rd percentile, a 50 percent drop.”
the study, Eisenberg and his colleagues conducted a Web survey of a
random sample of approximately 2,800 undergraduate and graduate
students about a range of mental health issues in fall 2005, and
conducted a follow-up survey with a subset of the sample in fall 2007.
dropout rate for University of Michigan students is about 5 percent per
year, which is much lower than the national average, Eisenberg says.
This likely reflects the type of high-achieving students Michigan
attracts, along with U-M’s support network for students experiencing
emotional problems or depression.
“Michigan does seem to be
a leader in many respects in terms of things the university has done
related to student mental health,” said Eisenberg, who noted that the
next step in the research is a large scale study.
this study as suggesting that there is value in a large randomized
trial of screening and treating depressed students, in which the
academic outcomes are measured carefully. That’s what it will take to
really see what the value is in reducing the dropout rate and improving
GPA. As far as I know this has not been done.”
Many students with depression—as with the general population—remain untreated.
the biggest reason is only about 50 percent of people with depression
say they think they need help,” Eisenberg said. “College students in
particular may feel that stress is normal.”
Eisenberg’s research, certain types of students have higher levels of
stigma. Males, students from lower-income backgrounds and Asian
students, in particular, report higher levels of stigma about mental
Source: University of Michigan