Back to Annual Meeting
Back to Annual Meeting
APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Suicidal risks and depression among Chinese college freshmen

Yan Xia, PhD1, Haiping Wang, MA2, Cixin Wang, MA3, Chenghuang Ji, MA4, Toni Hill-Menson, MS3, Jing Chen2, and Chunlai He2. (1) University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, 102 ASH, 60th & Dodge Street, Omaha, NE 68182-0214, 402-554-3259, rxia2@unl.edu, (2) Guangdong University of Technology, Student Counseling Service, 729 East Dongfeng Road, Guangzhou, 510090, China, (3) University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Family & Consumer Sciences, MABL 135, City Campus, Lincoln, NE 68588-0236, (4) University of Maryland, Department of Family Studies, 1203 Marie Mount Hall, College Park, MD 20742

The purpose of this study is two-fold: 1) to assess suicidal risks and depression among Chinese college freshmen, and 2) to examine the association of both suicidal ideation and depression with psychosomatic symptoms. Over 11,000 freshmen from a comprehensive university in Southern P. R. China responded to a mental health status survey. Among the respondents, 1.5% (165) reported that they “want to commit suicide,” 7.8% (856) “feel helpless,” and 27.8% (3059) “constantly experience thoughts of worthlessness.” Besides, 14.7% reported, at least, five of the nine depressive symptoms according to DSM IV diagnostic criteria (depressed mood or irritability, loss of interest in everything, inability to concentrate, insomnia, diminished energy, thoughts of worthlessness, reduced ability to make decisions, and suicidal ideation). Major results from logistic regression showed Chinese college students who reported frequent headaches were twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts and those who reported memory loss were almost four times more likely to experience the suicidal thoughts. For the students who reported neck and shoulder pain, their likelihood of suffering depression increased by 50%, and for those who reported chest pain or difficulty breathing their likelihood of suffering depression was nearly doubled. Other significant somatic signs included stomach-ache, diarrhea, stutter, hot and cold spells, cold sweats, and dizziness. This study has identified a range of psychosomatic symptoms that will enhance the recognition and diagnosis of depression among Chinese students, hence providing timely intervention. The information can be used to develop materials for education and prevention to increase public awareness.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Mental Health, Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Perspectives on Chronic Disease and Aging

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA