Individual, interpersonal, and institutional level factors associated with the mental health of college students

De Annah R. Byrd, Kristen J. McKinney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Objective: This study investigates the individual, interpersonal, and institutional level factors that are associated with overall mental health among college students. Participants: Data are from an online cross-sectional survey of 2,203 students currently enrolled at a large public university. Methods: Mental health was ascertained using a subcomponent of the RAND Medical Outcomes Study functioning and well-being measures developed by the RAND corporation. Stepwise regression was used to determine if self-reported measures of individual (ie, coping abilities), interpersonal (ie, intergroup awareness), and institutional (ie, campus climate/tension) level factors were associated with overall mental health, after controlling for demographic characteristics. Results: The combined effects of both individual and institutional level measures were associated with student mental health. In particular, limited coping abilities and a perceived racially tense campus climate contributed to the psychological distress of college students. Conclusions: Simultaneously addressing the individual and institutional level influences on mental health offers the most promising help for students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • campus climate
  • college students
  • coping abilities
  • mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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