Depression is common among university students and often impacts their career development and health. Stressful life events might be associated with depression but remain to be studied among young adults, especially in non-Western settings. Depression and stressful life events were assessed in 304 students at a university in Botswana (M = 21.56, standard deviation = 1.86) using the 21-item Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI) and the 26-Item Social Readjustment Rating Scale. Regression models were fitted to study the associations between stressful life events and depression while a one-way between-subjects analysis of variance was performed to compare subjects with minimal, mild, moderate, and severe depression on reporting stressful life events. Depression was present in 22 % of the participants (severe in 8.2% and moderate in 13.8%). More than half of the participants reported 10 or more stressful life events. Stressful life events significantly predicted depression (β = .37, 0.13–0.60). When all the other stressful life events and gender were adjusted for each other, loss of a cell phone, tablet, or laptop and relationship difficulties with peers, parents, and lecturers independently predicted depression. Subjects with minimal, mild, moderate, and severe depression significantly differed on reporting stressful life events (F(3, 300) = 12.69, p < .001). Depression is not only common but significantly and increasingly associated with reporting more stressful life events. Types of stressful life events such as relationship difficulties and losses were uniquely associated with depression and should be considered in planning interventions and treatment of depression on university campuses.
South African Journal of Psychology – SAGE
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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