The long-term mental health of Australia’s tertiary students

Richard A. Burns, Dimity A. Crisp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: The objective of the current study was to quantify the extent to which Australia’s tertiary students have reported poorer mental health in comparison with the general community between 2001 and 2017. Methods: Data were derived from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey, a longitudinal household-based panel study. There were 29,124 participants who provided at least one observation over the study period. On average, participants provided 7.4 observations. Mental Health was assessed with the SF-36 mental health and vitality subscales. Results: There was little evidence for differences in mental health and vitality between those studying at tertiary levels and those not in tertiary education. Age-stratified analyses revealed that any differences were reported by older students. Interactions between education level and time revealed that the association between tertiary study and mental health outcomes has been consistent over time. Conclusion: There were very few differences between those in and those not in tertiary education. The magnitude of any differences was very small and does not necessarily reflect substantial poor mental health outcome. Overall, the most consistent finding was that there was little risk for poor mental health outcomes attributed to tertiary study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Early online date16 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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