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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 82-88

Prevalence of psychological distress among undergraduate students at Jazan University: A cross-sectional study

Medical Student, College of Medicine, Jazan University, Jazan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ramzi Mohammed Hakami
College of Medicine, Jazan University, Jazan 45142
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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DOI: 10.4103/sjmms.sjmms_73_17

PMID: 30787826

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Background: Undergraduate learning is a sensitive and challenging period for students and has been reported to result in high rates of psychological distress in them. Objectives: To determine the prevalence of psychological distress among undergraduate students at Jazan University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among a stratified sample of 500 undergraduate students from five faculties at Jazan University. All participants completed an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire, which included questions about their sociodemographic details and a measuring scale of general psychological distress, the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18). Results: A total of 450 students satisfactorily completed the questionnaire. Of these, 139 (30.9%) were screened positive for psychological distress based on the BSI-18 scale. Females scored significantly higher than males on the somatization (P = 0.002) and anxiety subscales (P = 0.006) as well as on the total symptom scale (the General Severity Index; P = 0.005). However, there was no significant difference between males and females regarding the depression subscale (P = 0.149). Twenty-eight students (6.2%) reported moderate to extreme levels of distress due to suicidal thoughts in the past 1 week before inclusion in this study. Conclusions: This study found that ~31% of undergraduate students at Jazan University are psychologically distressed. This finding necessitates the need for rigorous efforts to develop proper screening and intervention programs targeting this population.

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