The association between depression, anxiety and substance use among Canadian post-secondary students

Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2018;Volume 14:3241-3251


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment

ISSN: 1176-6328 (Print); 1178-2021 (Online)

Publisher: Dove Medical Press

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Internal medicine: Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry: Neurology. Diseases of the nervous system

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Esmaeelzadeh S
Moraros J
Thorpe L
Bird Y


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 16 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Sarvenaz Esmaeelzadeh,1 John Moraros,1 Lilian Thorpe,2 Yelena Bird1 1School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada; 2Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada Purpose: This study aims to examine the association between depression, anxiety and substance use among Canadian post-secondary students.Methods: This study used data from the spring 2016, American College Health Association – National College Health Assessment II (ACHA-NCHA II) survey. It includes 43,780 college students from 41 Canadian post-secondary institutions. The exposure variables of interest were alcohol, cannabis and tobacco use, and the outcome variables of interest were diagnosis or treatment for depression and/or anxiety. Descriptive statistics, univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to analyze our data. Results: Our study found that 14.7% of post-secondary students were diagnosed or treated for depression and 18.4% for anxiety within the past 12 months. Among current (past 30 days) substance use, it was reported that alcohol (69.3%), cannabis (17.9%) and tobacco (11%) were the most common. There was a significant association between depression and current tobacco use (OR =1.36, 95% CI: 1.22–1.52, P<0.001) and current cannabis use (OR =1.17, 95% CI: 1.05–1.31, P<0.001). There was also a gender-specific association between anxiety and female alcohol users (OR =1.41, 95% CI: 1.24–1.62, P<0.001).Conclusion: The results of this study found significant associations between depression, tobacco use and cannabis use, and anxiety and alcohol use among post-secondary students. These conditions should be screened concurrently for improved outcomes among this vulnerable population. Keywords: depression, anxiety, alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, post-secondary students