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Home > Depressive symptoms, college adjustment and peer support among undergraduate nursing and midwifery students.

Horgan, Aine and Sweeney, John and Behan, Laura and McCarthy, Geraldine (2016) Depressive symptoms, college adjustment and peer support among undergraduate nursing and midwifery students. Journal of Advanced Nursing , 72 , (12) , pp. 3081-3092.

AIM: This study aimed to identify levels of depressive symptoms, social and personal college adjustment and peer support among nursing and midwifery students.

BACKGROUND: Student mental health is of international concern, particularly among students who are undertaking professional qualifications in health care.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional design.
METHODS: Data were collected in 2013 using the Centre for Epidemiology Depressive Symptoms Scale, two subscales of the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire; and a subscale of the Peer Support Evaluation Inventory with 417 students in Ireland.

RESULTS: Findings indicated that 34% of participants experienced depressive symptoms, 20% were poorly personally adjusted and 9% poorly socially adjusted. Most students had good levels of peer support. Statistically significant relationships were found between all key variables. Students in their second year of study had significantly higher rates of depressive symptoms. Participants who reported having poor relationships with their fathers were at higher risk and had more difficulties personally and socially adjusting to university life and study. The alcohol consumption of participants had a statistically significant relationship with depressive symptoms with higher consumption rates having a positive impact on symptoms.

CONCLUSION: The mental health of undergraduates undertaking professional healthcare studies needs to be a key research, educational and clinical priority. High rates of adjustment and mental health difficulties, particularly in the second year of the programme need to be examined and more effective interventions developed.


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