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Depression and Suicidal Ideation in College Students

Farabaugh A.a · Bitran S.a · Nyer M.a · Holt D.J.a · Pedrelli P.a · Shyu I.a · Hollon S.D.c · Zisook S.d · Baer L.a · Busse W.b · Petersen T.J.a · Pender M.a · Tucker D.D.c · Fava M.a
aDepression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, and bCounseling Center, Suffolk University, Boston, Mass., cDepartment of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., and dDepartment of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, San Diego, Calif., USA Psychopathology 2012;45:228–234 (DOI:10.1159/000331598)


Background/Aims: Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in college students and is often associated with depression. The aim of this study was to assess the rates of suicidal ideation (SI) on college campuses and to identify its correlates. Methods: On-campus depression screening sessions were conducted at 3 universities (n = 898; 55% female; mean age 20.07 ± 1.85 years). Participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; mean ± SD of total score = 6.27 ± 6.31) and other measures. Eighty-four students endorsed a ‘1’ on the BDI suicidality item, suggesting thoughts of suicide. Results: Results showed that students with greater depression severity, higher levels of hopelessness, and poorer quality of life were more likely to endorse SI. Conclusion: Factors associated with SI highlighted in this study may aid in the identification of college students at risk for suicide.


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