About one-third of undergraduate, graduate and professional school students screened during the summer were found to have depression or anxiety, or both, which is a higher rate than seen in years past, according to a new report by the Student Experience in the Research University, or SERU, Consortium.
The consortium, a higher education research collaborative between the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Minnesota and other institutions, used patient health questionnaires to screen 30,725 undergraduate students at nine research universities from May to July and found that 35 percent of them were positive for major depressive disorder and 39 percent for generalized anxiety disorder.
The results show the negative mental health impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on students, especially those who struggled to transition from in-person to remote instruction, the report said.
Of 15,346 graduate and professional students screened, 32 percent were positive for major depressive disorder and 39 percent for generalized anxiety, the report said. The rate of major depressive disorder among graduate and professional students is two times higher compared to 2019, the report said.
Rates of the disorders were “more pronounced” for low-income and LGBTQ students, women and students of color, the report said, and 25 percent of undergraduate students screened were found to have both depression and anxiety.
“It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated the frequency with which students experience mental health disorders and exacerbated mental health concerns among marginalized and underrepresented students in higher education,” Krista Soria, assistant director for research and strategic partnerships for the SERU Consortium and director for student affairs assessment at the University of Minnesota, said in a press release.