Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling

Articles

Using the University Student Depression Inventory to Investigate the Effect of Demographic Variables on Students' Depression

Nigar G. Khawajaa1 c1 and Krystle Duncansona2

a1 Queensland University of Technology, Australia. n.khawaja@qut.edu.au

a2 Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

Abstract

Depression is a problem in the student population and may impact students of any age, gender and ethnicity. Previous studies have indicated student demographic characteristics are associated with depression; however, these studies have not utilised scales specifically designed to measure depression in the student population. The aim of the present study was to use the recently developed University Student Depression Inventory (USDI; Khawaja & Bryden, 2006) to examine the effect of demographic factors on student depression. Australian university students (N = 287) completed the USDI and a demographic form that measured student age, gender, ethnicity, year-level, faculty, enrolment status, relationship status, employment-status, satisfaction with their financial position and accommodation. A series of t tests and one-way ANOVAs indicated depression was higher among females, students enrolled part-time, students working full-time, and those enrolled in the Faculty of Law. Students who were satisfied with their financial position and accommodation were significantly less depressed than those who were unsatisfied. The findings highlight the varying effect of different demographic factors on depression using the USDI. These findings are important for identifying and developing strategies to assist those student groups who may be at a greater risk of developing depression.

Keywords

  • students;
  • depression;
  • University Student Depression Inventory

Correspondence

c1 Address for Correspondence: Dr Nigar Gohar Khawaja, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology & Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, 4034, Australia.