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74% university admission seekers suffer depression: Study

Staff Reporter:

At least 74% of the country’s students who are seeking university admission are suffering from depression, according to a study by Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST).

Among them, 26% of the students are suffering from mild depression, 26% from moderate depression, and 22% are suffering from severe depression.

A team of researchers led by Prof Jamal Uddin of the statistics department at SUST in Sylhet conducted a survey titled “Prevalence of depression and its associated factors among undergraduate admission candidates in Bangladesh: A nation-wide cross-sectional study” on 5,000 admission candidates of 2021-22 HSC session in the divisional cities of Bangladesh.

Through this survey, the researchers divided the severity of depression among the admission seekers into three categories.

The study was published on 30 November in the international multidisciplinary Q1 journal PLOS One (Impact Factor: 3.7, 2022).

Regarding the study, Prof Jamal Uddin said, “Factors have been identified behind both the increase and decrease of depression. Gender, blackmail, family problems, serious illness, Covid-19 diagnosis, academic results, and psychological problems have been identified as factors behind the increase in depression.

“On the other hand, confidence in preparing for admission tests, exercise, study time, religious practice, play a role in reducing depression. Although family income and social media use have been identified as the catalyst for depression, their impact is not very strong [in these cases]. In addition, the study also revealed that there was no relation between the habit of smoking, marital status, love affairs and religious beliefs with the depression among the admission candidates.”

Another author of the study, Md Abu Bakar Siddique, said that female students are almost twice as likely to suffer from moderate depression as boys.

The correlation between recent experiences of blackmail and familial issues in students often leads to a significantly higher likelihood of experiencing severe depression, often two to three times more than their peers.

He emphasised that genuine companionship and a supportive family environment are irreplaceable when it comes to alleviating depression among students.

“Simultaneously, fostering awareness about physical fitness and religious discipline proves influential. It’s crucial to prioritise not just the students’ physical health but also their mental well-being. Beyond academic success, a collaborative effort from families, educational institutions, society, and the government is imperative to nurture a resilient generation, both physically and mentally,” said Abu Bakar.

Md Nafiul Hasan and Al Mahmud of the Department of Statistics at SUST, Munmun Sarker, a student of the Department of Microbiology at Dhaka University, Mahmudul Hasan Milad, a student of the Department of Public Health at the University of Birmingham, UK, Akher Ali, a student of the Department of Statistics, Jahangirnagar University, and Jubayer Ahmed, assistant professor of the Department of Economics and Banking, Islamic University, Chattogram, also contributed to the research.

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