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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 480

Depression, fitness, and student willingness to pursue university counseling and alternative antidepressant options

1 Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
2 Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sharon Jalene
4505 S. Maryland Parkway. Box 453034. Las Vegas, NV. 89154-3034
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_1421_20

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BACKGROUND: Depression prevalence in college students is three to six times higher than US adults. Counseling utilization increased by 30%–40% despite reports of student unwillingness to pursue therapy. Pursuance of alternative options, like exercise or meditation, is rarely reported. This study examined students' willingness to seek depression treatment through university mental health services (UMHS) and alternative options (AO). MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study. Students (n = 780) completed a survey including validated depression and estimated cardiorespiratory fitness instruments. Yes/Maybe/No responses regarding willingness to seek UMHS and AO were analyzed for associations with demographics, depression status, and fitness level. Descriptive and inferential analyses were employed. RESULTS: Students were more likely to select “Yes” for AO than UMHS (χ2 = 104.145, P < 0.001). Low-fit students (χ2 = 8.35, P = 0.02) and those in depression treatment (χ2 = 15.182, P < 0.001) selected “Yes” to UMHS more often than expected. Younger (χ2 = 7.893, P = 0.02), nondepressed (χ2 = 7.355, P = 0.03), and fit students (χ2 = 10.617, P = 0.005) chose “Yes” while males selected “No” (χ2 = 8.99, P = 0.01) more often than expected for AO. Approximately 31% of students reported having moderate-to-severe depression, 7.8% were in treatment, and 55% were classified as having low fitness levels. CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study should be considered when developing antidepressant programming on university campuses.

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