Prevalence of Depressive Symptoms and Associated Psychosocial risk
Factors among University Students: The Moderating and Mediating Effects
Background: Previous studies have indicated that university
students constitute a higher risk population for mental health problems,
especially for depression. Yet, there appears to be a lack of literature
addressing a such issues in France. The present study aimed to estimate
the prevalence rates of depression, its sociodemographic correlates in
French university students (FUS), and to examine whether individual
resilience resources moderated and mediated the relationship between
perceived stress and depressive symptoms.
Methods: The data were collected through web-based
questionnaires. The sample included 1435 FUS with a mean age of 20.5
(SD = 3.38) years. Participants completed the Beck Depression
Inventory (BDI-II), the Perceived Stress Scale, the Brief Resilience
Scale, and a sociodemographic questionnaire. Descriptive, multiple
logistic regression and mediation analyses were used.
Results: With respect to the BDI-II’s cutoff scores, 20.3% and
22.8% were positive to moderate and severe depression, respectively
(43.1%). Gender and education attainment appeared as moderate risk
factors when accounting for cumulative effect of perceived stress and
individual resilience. Resilience was found to buffer and mediate
partially the perceived stress–depression relationship.
Conclusion: The prevalence of depression was higher in FUS, as
similar to those reported in
previous studies. The amount of academic and daily stress explained this
prevalence. University students with low resilience level were more at
risk. Interventions with aim to improving resilience skills could help
to mitigate the negative effects of stress and to promote mental health
in this population.