JOURNAL ARTICLE

Symptoms and health complaints and their association with perceived stressors among students at nine Libyan universities

Walid El Ansari, Khalid Khalil, Christiane Stock
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2014, 11 (12): 12088-107
25429678
University students are exposed to many stressors. We assessed the associations between two stressors (educational related and general overall), socio-demographic characteristics (five variables), health behaviours/lifestyle factors (six variables), as well as religiosity and quality of life as independent variables, with self-reported symptoms/health complaints as dependent variables (eight health complaints). A sample of 2100 undergraduate students from nine institutions (six universities, three colleges) located in seven cities in Libya completed a general health questionnaire. The most prevalent symptoms were headaches, depressive mood, difficulties to concentrate and sleep disorder/insomnia that have been reported by 50%-60% of the students. The majority of students (62%) reported having had three or more symptoms sometimes or very often in the last 12 months. There was a positive association between perceived stressors and health symptoms, which remained significant after adjustment for gender and many other relevant factors for headache (OR 1.52; 95% CI 1.15-2.02), depressive mood (OR 2.20; 95% CI 1.64-2.94) and sleep disorder/ insomnia (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.19-2.03). Other factors independently associated with most health symptoms were female gender and poor self-perceived health. Stress management programmes and a reduction of educational related stressors might help to prevent stress-related symptoms and health complaints in this student population.

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