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Pessimism, Trauma, Risky Sex: Covariates of Depression in College Students

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Objective : To explain variance in depression in students (N 648) using a model incorporating sexual trauma, pessimism, and risky sex.

Method : Survey data collected from undergraduate students receiving credit for participation.

Results : Controlling for demographics, a hierarchical linear regression analysis [Adjusted R2 .34, F(5,642) 67.38, P<.001] suggests that higher pessimism (t 16.05, P < .001), more sexual trauma (t 3.76, P<.001), and more risky sex (t 3.40, P<.001) were associated with increased depression. Not being in a relationship (t 3.54, P<.001) and being unemployed (t 3.10, P<.01) also predicted more depression in students.

Conclusions : Results identify key access points for the treatment of depression in students.

Keywords: college student; depression; pessimism; risky sexual behaviors; sexual trauma

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1 Graduate Student, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.

Publication date: 2009-05-01

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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