Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Survey research that asks respondents to report on depression often ask
respondents whether they have been diagnosed with depression by a medical
professional. But such questions underestimate depression by leaving out respondents
who are unable or unwilling to seek professional help. Thus, other studies seek to ask
respondents to report symptoms of various dimensions of depression. This is especially
important because, according to the CDC, “persons with mild depressive symptoms, as
well as those with moderate or severe depressive symptoms, reported difficulties with
work, home, and social activities related to their symptoms”. But some groups are more
prone to depression.
Given the increased stressors that college students face in their transition to
adulthood, coupled with increased exposure to —and participation in—potential health
risks including drinking, smoking, and drug usage they face increased risk for
experiencing depressive symptoms. This inflated risk for experiencing depressive
symptoms often results in one’s academic success and satisfaction with school being
This study aims to examine, first, the factors that influence reported depressive
symptoms and, second, how the interrelationships among these factors and depressive
symptoms are associated with academic success and satisfaction among college students.
The data used for this study come from the Healthy Minds Study from the University of
Michigan, a preexisting data set that includes 89,486 research subjects collected between
2007-2013. The Healthy Minds Study is an annual web-based survey that strives to
examine mental health trends among graduate and undergraduate students who opted into
the study. Since the study’s inception in 2007, over 100,000 students from over 100
universities and colleges have been surveyed. This study examines college student’s
reported depressive symptoms, the factors associated with depressive symptoms, and how
depression symptoms are associated with academic success and rates of retention,
building conceptual and empirical models that examine how a broad range of factors are
linked to depressive symptoms and academic success in a complex web of disadvantage.
Ofenloch, Jenna Eileen, "Down and Out: College Students Experiencing Depressive Symptoms" (2016). Master's Theses. 3349.
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Copyright © 2016 Jenna Eileen Ofenloch