CROSS SECTIONAL STUDY: STRESS, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY AND COPING STYLES AMONG MALAYSIAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

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Priscilla Das
Palaniammal Kissen@Krishnan

Abstract

Introduction: Psychiatric symptoms such as depression and anxiety can have a strong impact on mental health status.


Objectives: The study aimed to determine the prevalence and associated factors of stress, depression, and anxiety
in relation to coping styles among university students.


Methods: A self-administered questionnaire consisting of socio-demographic information, Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS)-21 and the Brief-Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced (COPE) inventory was used. The
collected data were analyzed, and descriptive statistics and correlational tests were applied in this study.


Results: The majority of respondents were female (n=84). A total of 100 university students aged from 18-44 years
old were included in the study. The students were pursuing either a bachelor (n=33), diploma (n=66) or master’s
program (n=1). About 26% of the respondents had different grades of stress with 12%, 6% and 8% of respondents
experiencing mild, moderate and severe degrees of stress respectively. The results also showed that 33% of the
respondents had different grades of depression with 10%, 13%, 5% having mild, moderate and severe degrees of
depression respectively. Another 5% had extremely severe depression. As many as 61% of the respondents had
different grades of anxiety with mild (8%), moderate (25%), severe (9%) and extremely severe (19%) degrees of anxiety. Stress was associated with venting coping styles (r=0.287; p=0.004), behavioral disengagement (r=0.425;
p<0.001) and self-blame (r=0.469; p<0.001). Depression correlated with behavioral disengagement (r=0.383;
p<0.001) and self-blame (r=0.375; p<0.001) and correlated negatively with positive reframing (r=-0.221; p=0.027).
Finally, anxiety had a significant relationship with behavioral disengagement (r=0.383; p<0.001) and self-blame
(r=0.403; p<0.001).


Conclusion: Maladaptive coping styles such as venting, behavioral disengagement and self-blame have a significant
impact on increased stress, anxiety and depression levels among university students.

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Section
Research article