Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

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

negatively affected.

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.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.