Common mental disorder and its association with academic performance among Debre Berhan University students, Ethiopia

Yohannes Gebreegziabhere Haile*, Sisay Mulugeta Alemu, Tesfa Habtewold

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Background: Common mental disorder (CMD) is prevalent in industrialized and non-industrialized countries. The prevalence of CMD among university students was 28.8-44.7% and attributed to several risk factors, such as schooling. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and risk factors of CMD. In addition, the association between CMD and academic performance was tested.

    Methods: Institution based cross-sectional study was conducted with 422 students at Debre Berhan university from March to April 2015. CMD was the primary outcome variable whereas academic performance was the secondary outcome variable. Kessler psychological distress (K10) scale was used to assess CMD. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression analysis were performed for modeling the primary outcome variable; independent samples T test and linear regression analysis were carried out for modeling the secondary outcome variable. The strength of association was interpreted using odds ratio and regression coefficient (beta) and decision on statistical significance was made at a p value of 0.05. Data were entered using EPI-data version 3.1 software and analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.01 software.

    Results: The prevalence of CMD was 63.1%. Field of study (p = 0.008, OR = 0.2, 95% CI 0.04-0.61), worshiping (p = 0.04, OR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.02-3.35), insomnia (p <0.001, OR = 3.8, 95% CI 2.21-6.57), alcohol drinking (p = 0.006, OR = 2.7, 95% CI 1.33-5.66), and headache (p = 0.02, OR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.10-3.86) were identified risk factors for CMD. The mean cumulative grade point average of students with CMD was lower by 0.02 compared to those without CMD, but not statistically significant (p = 0.70, beta = -0.02, 95% CI -0.15 to 0.10). CMD explained only 0.8% (r(2) = 0.008) of the difference in academic performance between students.

    Conclusions: At least three out of five students fulfilled CMD diagnostic criteria. The statistically significant risk factors were field of study, worshiping, insomnia, alcohol drinking, and headache. Moreover, there was no statistically significant association between CMD and academic performance. Undertaking integrated evidence-based intervention focusing on students with poor sleep quality, poor physical health, and who drink alcohol is essential if the present finding confirmed by a longitudinal study.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational journal of mental health systems
    Issue number34
    Publication statusPublished - 3-May-2017


    • Common mental disorder
    • Prevalence
    • Academic performance
    • Students
    • Ethiopia

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