One in four college students feels considerable tension, with career and financial concerns topping the list of their worries, a survey by the John Tung Foundation found.
Of the 5,655 college students sampled, about 22 percent indicated they felt depressed, said Yeh Ya-hsing (葉雅馨), head of the foundation’s mental health section.
That percentage would translate to almost 300,000 students nationwide.
The survey was done between May and June this year, with respondents divided almost evenly in terms of gender. Students were from 57 colleges and universities.
The results indicated that the top source of stress for students was future job opportunities, followed by worries about their finances, grades, physical appearance and the finances of their families.
Chen Yong-shing (陳永興), a professor at Taipei Medical University’s School of Medicine, said economic worries have only recently become a major source of stress for students.
“In the past, financial trouble wasn’t among the top sources of stress for those who feel depressed ... College students who are graduating now worry about job opportunities because it is so hard to find a job,” he said.
In 2005, financially related stress sources ranked fourth, at 15.9 percent, Yeh said.
In this year’s survey, student worries about their own financial state ranked second at 21 percent and worries about their families’ finances ranked fifth at 14 percent.
The survey indicated that college students who are overly stressed or feel depressed spend more time sleeping, surfing the Internet and using instant messenger software, Yeh said.
“Those who feel depressed have less confidence, so they think that talking to other people is useless,” Chen said.
A very low percentage of depressed or overly stressed college students seek help from psychologists or counselors, which shows that there is room for improvement to help these students, Chen said.
The survey also found that respondents who indicated they feel depressed mostly came from families with well-educated mothers, which Yeh said could indicate that mothers with a higher degree of education have higher expectations for their children’s futures.
Among respondents whose mothers have graduate degrees, 35.4 percent indicated they felt depressed, Yeh said, a figure that dropped to 21 percent to 23 percent for the other respondents.
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