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Prevalence, Comorbidity, and Correlates of DSM-IV Axis I Mental Disorders Among Female University Students

Vázquez, Fernando L. PhD*; Torres, Ángela MD, PhD; Otero, Patricia MRes*; Díaz, Olga PhD*

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: June 2011 - Volume 199 - Issue 6 - p 379-383
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31821cd29c
Original Articles

This cross-sectional study evaluated the prevalence of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV), axis I mental disorders among Spanish female students and investigated their psychiatric comorbidity and correlates. 1054 female students with a mean age of 22.2 years were randomly selected, with stratification by academic seniority and the type of academic discipline. The cases of mental disorder were identified by clinically trained interviewers with the aid of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders-Clinician Version. The lifetime prevalence of the targeted psychiatric disorders was 50.8%, and its point prevalence was 37.3%. The commonest disorders were nicotine dependence, depression, and generalized anxiety disorder. Nearly 37% of subjects with a psychiatric disorder had two or more diagnoses. Mental illness was associated with family income, financial independence, type of academic discipline, violence from men, social support, and self-esteem. Psychiatric disorders are common among female university students. Serious attention should be paid to preventive and therapeutic programs in this group.

*Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, University of Santiago de Compostela-Campus Vida, Galicia, Spain; and †Department of Psychiatry, University of Santiago de Compostela-Campus Universitario Norte, Galicia, Spain.

This research was supported by the Vice Presidency of Equality and Welfare of the Xunta de Galicia under project 2007/PA007.

Send reprint requests to Fernando L. Vázquez, PhD, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, University of Santiago de Compostela, Campus Vida, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. E-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.