Prevalence, severity and risk factors for depressive symptoms and insomnia in college undergraduates

Jenna L. Gress-Smith, Danielle S. Roubinov, Charissa Andreotti, Bruce E. Compas, Linda Luecken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Although the college years represent a high-risk period for depressive symptoms and insomnia, little research has explored their prevalence, comorbidities and risk factors within this developmental period. Two studies were conducted; the first evaluated the prevalence and comorbidity of depressive symptoms and insomnia in 1338 students (ages 18-23 years) from a large Southwestern University. Mild depressive symptoms were endorsed by 19% of students and 14.5% reported moderate to severe symptoms. Forty-seven percent of students reported mild insomnia and 22.5% endorsed moderate to severe insomnia severity. A second study investigated perceived stress as a potential mediator of the relation between self-reported childhood adversity and concurrent depressive symptoms and insomnia. Undergraduates (N = 447) from a Southwestern and Southeastern University reported prior childhood adversity, current perceived stress, insomnia and depressive symptoms. Self-reported childhood adversity predicted higher levels of depressive symptoms and insomnia severity, partially mediated by perceived stress. Results support the high prevalence of depressive symptoms and insomnia among undergraduates. The risk for depressive and insomnia symptoms may be increased among students who experienced greater levels of childhood adversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalStress and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • affect/mood
  • childhood stress
  • perceived stress
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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