BACKGROUND: Although mental health problems affect the
general population, students are highly vulnerable to psychological
disorders. Mental distress among students is a cause of concern as
it may impair their behavior and diminish learning, which could
negatively affect their academic performance. Therefore, the
objective of this study was to assess the prevalence and the factors
associated with mental distress among college students in Southern
Ethiopia.
METHODS: Institution based cross-sectional study was conducted
among 280 regular students of Hawassa College of Health
Sciences. Mental distress was measured using a Self-Reporting
Questionnaire (SRQ-20). The data were entered into Epi-Info
version 3.5.4 and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social
Science (SPSS) version 20. Multivariable logistic analysis was
performed following bivariate analysis to adjust for the effect of
confounders.
RESULT: The prevalence of mental distress among the study
subjects was found to be 59 (22.30%). Female students were 2.08
times more likely to have mental distress as compared to male
students (AOR =2.08 [95% CI: 1.14-3.82]). The odds of mental
distress among third-year students was 60% lower compared to
second-year students [AOR = 0.40; 95 % CI, (0.19, 0.87)]. Students
who were from Amhara ethnic group were 3.37 times more likely to
have mental distress as compared to students from Sidama ethnic
group [AOR=3.37;95%CI (1.13-10.09)]. Moreover, students who
had Grade Point Average of below 60% were 4.69 times more likely
to be mentally distressed as compared to those students who scored
Grade Point Average of greater or equal to 60% (AOR= 4.69; 95%
CI,[ 2.46, 8.96).

Published: 2019-05-28