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Revista Portuguesa de Enfermagem de Saúde Mental

versão impressa ISSN 1647-2160


NOGUEIRA, Maria José; BARROS, Luísa  e  SEQUEIRA, Carlos. The Mental Health of Higher Education Students: Relationship with gender, socioeconomic status and health behaviours. Revista Portuguesa de Enfermagem de Saúde Mental [online]. 2017, n.spe5, pp.51-56. ISSN 1647-2160.

BACKGROUND: The level of mental health (MH) affects the well-being and academic success of students of higher education (Chow, 2010). However, in Portugal, this issue has been rarely studied. The literature is unclear and sometimes contradictory with regard to positive and/or negatively associated psychosocial variables of higher education students (Eisenberg, et al., 2009). AIM: (1) To characterize the MH of higher education students; (2) To explore the relationship between MH and sociodemographic and health behaviors variables. METHODS: This is a descriptive, cross-sectional and correlational study, and a non-probabilistic sample, composed of students of higher education in the District of Lisbon of the 1st and 2nd year enrolled in the 1st cycle of studies. Participants gave written informed consent and, voluntarily completed an online survey, which was sent to campus email during October and November 2014. To collect sociodemographic information, health behaviors and students' MH, were used a brief questionnaire and the Mental Health Inventory (ISM). RESULTS: Overall, the results indicate satisfactory levels of MH, both in the positive dimension - Psychological Well-Being and in the negative - Psychological Distress. However, 93 participants were found to have low MH level. Correlational analyzes show that women have lower levels of MH than men. Similarly, as the socioeconomic level increases, the levels of MH improve. The results, also, indicate that higher levels of MH are significantly associated with participants who exercise regularly and who sleep more than seven hours, during class period. In this sample, there were no significant associations between alcohol consumption and other drugs with students' MH. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the female gender and the low NSE are variables associated negatively with the MH of the participants. While regular practice of exercise and sleep seven or more hours per day were positively associated with MH.

Palavras-chave : Mental health; higher education students; gender; health behaviors.

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