A Comparison Study of Psychiatric Symptoms Endorsed by Ethnically Diverse College Students in a Medical as Opposed to Mental Health Setting

By Christine B. Kleinpeter, Marilyn Potts and Rob Bachmann.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: June 13, 2016 $US5.00

This exploratory study compares the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) scores between 143 students who received mental health services and 144 students who received medical services at a southern California community college through the on-campus Student Health Center during the academic year 2013–2014. It describes the type of problems that brought students to medical or mental health services, the kind of services provided, and the ethnic diversity of the students who were provided treatment. Results indicated that the majority of medical and mental health clients were female, ranging in age from seventeen to fifty-nine years. No age or ethnic differences were found between groups. The mean PHQ-9 scores of mental health clients were significantly higher than those of medical clients. Mental health clients had a mean of 12.31 while medical clients had a mean of 3.33 (t = 13.70, p < .001). The most frequently recorded medical services provided were required physical examinations for nursing classes or sport activities (12.5%) and tuberculosis testing (7.6%). Of note, 25.9 percent of medical clients indicated clinically significant levels of depression on the PHQ-9. Additionally, 35 percent of medical clients indicated that their symptoms made it difficult to do their work, take care of things at home, or get along with other people. Mental health diagnoses included: depression 55.2 percent, anxiety 34.3 percent, and stress 4.2 percent. Mental health clients received a mean of 4.75 counseling sessions using a brief therapy model (up to 8 sessions). Clinical implications are provided. Areas for future research are outlined.

Keywords: College Mental Health, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, Integrated Health Care

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 6, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.103-114. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: June 13, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 842.772KB)).

Dr. Christine B. Kleinpeter

Professor, School of Social Work, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, California, USA

Dr. Marilyn Potts

Professor, School of Social Work, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, California, USA

Rob Bachmann

Associate Dean, Student Health Center, Golden West College, Huntington Beach, California, USA