Year

2019

Degree Name

Master of Research

Department

School of Science, Medicine, and Health

Abstract

In 2018, depression was ranked as the leading burden of disease worldwide, affecting 4.4% of the world’s population. One of the highest at-risk groups for depression is university students. In Australia, around 84% of university students report elevated levels of depressive symptoms, approximately three times higher than that of age matched peers in the general population. It is hypothesised that a dual focus of symptom prevention and wellbeing promotion may be the most effective way to reduce symptoms of depression. The World Health Organisation defines wellbeing as a state in which an individual can [1] realise their own potential, [2] cope with normal stresses, [3] work productively, [4] and contribute to their community. The aim of this study was to examine the extent to which these four variables together explain wellbeing in a sample of Australian students. To the best of our knowledge this was the first study to explore this aim. It was found that together, these variables account for approximately 71% of the variance in this sample’s self- reported wellbeing. With the addition of depressive symptoms in the model, these four variables and depression accounted for approximately 77% of the variance in wellbeing. The strongest predictors of wellbeing in these models were high self-realisation and low depressive symptoms. These results support the hypothesis that a dual focus of symptom prevention and wellbeing promotion may be the most effective way to reduce depression amongst Australian university students. These results also suggest that wellbeing promotion should focus on the development of self-realisation among Australian university students to increase levels of wellbeing and decrease levels of depressive symptoms.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.