A Comparative Study of Psychiatric Symptoms in Engineering, Medical and Arts & Commerce College Students

Deshpande SS, Raje S, Majumdar R, Ghate M


Background: Mental disorders and mental health problems have increased considerably among young population in the past 20-30 years, which is disadvantageous to them as well as to the society. Many of these problems tend to persist into adulthood, thus requiring timely attention.

Methods: Cross sectional study involving first year students of medical, engineering and arts & commerce colleges was undertaken. Clusters from three different vocations were selected at random to complete a stratified sample. A specially designed self- reporting questionnaire that included socio-demographic and health related parameters and Symptom Checklist -90R (Derogatis L.) were administered.

Results: In all 445 students participated in the study. Overall prevalence of psychiatric cases as per SCL-90R norms was 17.07%, significantly more in male students and those in medical and engineering colleges. These students reported worse mood, less efficiency and more effort at work and irregular bowel habits compared to non-cases. The symptoms of psychopathology experienced were diverse.

Conclusion: Psychopathology in terms of Psychiatric symptoms reported was greater in medical and engineering colleges. Simple mental health parameters correlated with positive case detection on SCL – 90R, which would be useful in case identification. We recommend using these by teachers, parents or primary health workers for timely identification of mental health problems in adolescents.

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Mental Health; Students; Adolescent Psychiatry; Psychopathology

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