Prevalence of depressive symptoms among entrance test applicants of Mirpurkhas
Background: The interest of the scientific community regarding depression in students is rather new. However, case reports dating back to the seventeenth century do exist. In that era, the belief prevailed that depression rarely existed (if at all) among students but the belief is now being challenged. Our research takes the belief one step further and hypothesizes that depression is most often high during tests & exams and the highest when they are preparing for & about to appear in entrance tests. Objective: Entrance tests are, without doubt, the most crucial career defining periods of a student’s life. This study aims to test this hypothesis and figure out whether the belief, that depressive symptoms are intensified during the period of entrance tests, holds truth. Methodology: A cross-sectional, observational study was conducted in Mirpurkhas district. A data sample of 222 entrance test students was chosen via purposive sampling. Data was collected through a self-administered structured questionnaire (which included the Hamilton stress scale) from May to July 2014. The data was analyzed using SPSS v.16.0. Results: The mean stress score of the entrance test applicants was 21.56, which indicate moderate severity. The mean stress score of females (22.43) was higher than that of males (20.82) showing that females are more severely affected. A significant proportion of applicants admitted that they consciously experienced depressive mood. The applicants also complained of other general depressive symptoms like loss of appetite, general aches, weight loss, anxiety and agitation. Health worries were also common among the entrance test applicants. Conclusions: On the basis of our data we conclude that depression is common and wide array of general depressive symptoms are aggravated in entrance test applicants. This issue needs immediate attention and steps must be taken to pre-empt the future adverse health problems that can stem from this condition.