Prevalence of Depressive Symptoms Among University Students in Pakistan: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Khan, Muhammad Naeem, Akhtar, Parveen, Ijaz, Saira and Waqas, Ahmed ORCID: 0000-0002-3772-194X
(2021) Prevalence of Depressive Symptoms Among University Students in Pakistan: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. FRONTIERS IN PUBLIC HEALTH, 8. 603357-.

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<b>Background:</b> In Pakistan, almost 30% population is between 15 to 29 years of age, with university enrollment rates of 10-15%. Although there is a growing concern on mental health of university students across the globe, studies from low and middle income countries such as Pakistan are scarce. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of prevalence of depressive symptoms among Pakistani university students. <b>Methods:</b> PubMed, Web of Science, PsycInfo and Google Scholar were searched between 15 to 30th January 2020. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, published till 31st December 2019 were included. Data on study characteristics and prevalence of depressive symptoms were extracted. Meta-analysis was conducted using random effects models. To estimate subgroup difference based on study characteristics, meta-regression and sub-group analyses were conducted. <b>Results:</b> In total, 26 studies involving 7,652 participants were included in review. Overall prevalence of depressive symptoms was 42.66% (95% CI: 34.82% to 50.89%), with significant heterogeneity among studies. Subgroup analyses revealed a significant difference in prevalence estimates based on depression screening instrument and study major. Statistically significant differences were observed among studies employing different psychometric scales (test for subgroup differences, Q = 21.92, <i>p</i> < 0.05) and between students from different study majors (test for subgroup differences, Q = 3.76, <i>p</i> = 0.05). <b>Conclusion:</b> Our study found that overall prevalence of depressive symptoms among university students in Pakistan was 42.66%, however, findings should be interpreted with caution. Large scale epidemiological surveys using valid and reliable tools are needed to better estimate prevalence of depression among Pakistani university students.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: depression, university students, Pakistan, systematic review, meta-analysis (as topic), low resource setting
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2021 14:50
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 23:03
DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.603357
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