Volume 5, Issue 2, March 2017, Page: 25-37
Depressive Symptoms Life Satisfaction and Cognitive Health Status Among University Students in Nigeria by Gender and Ethnicity
Ezenna Michael Agwu, Department of Public Health, Mother Teresa Public Health Research Institute, Aba, Nigeria
Stephen Draper, Department of Sports Physiology, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Gloucestershire, Gloucester, United Kingdom
Mark De Ste Croix, Department of Sports Physiology, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Gloucestershire, Gloucester, United Kingdom
Received: Oct. 16, 2016;       Accepted: Jan. 19, 2017;       Published: Mar. 3, 2017
DOI: 10.11648/j.ajhr.20170502.12      View  2252      Downloads  146
Background: The health determinant model indicates that certain socio-cultural, socio-demographic, environmental, and lifestyle factors influence health status and wellbeing of any population group in any given nation Previous studies have suggested the need for regional and interregional comparison of health inequalities due to the interaction of these factors. Aims: This study investigated mental health indicators and cognitive health status by sex and ethnicity among university students in Nigeria. Method: The study was cross sectional. Full time university students were recruited from six universities within the major three ethnic groups in Nigeria. Data collection was with an anonymous questionnaire. One thousand five hundred and forty-nine responses were valid, while 563 responses were rejected for missing data especially sex and ethnicity. The variables examined were, psychosomatic health complaints and cognitive behaviours. Descriptive tests, chi-square tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests were conducted. Results: With regard to mental health indicators, the results showed that while depression indicate significant differences by gender and ethnicity, life satisfaction showed significant differences by ethnicity alone. Cognitive health status showed sex*ethnicity interaction effect for self-efficacy, sense of coherence and powerful others locus of control. Conclusion: The findings indicated that the mental health of female students in the sample was poorer than those of male students; with female students from the Hausa ethnic group, demonstrating the worst possible health outcome.
Mental Health, Cognitive Health, Health Status, Gender Health Inequality, Ethnic Health Inequality, Health Evaluation, Health Evidence
To cite this article
Ezenna Michael Agwu, Stephen Draper, Mark De Ste Croix, Depressive Symptoms Life Satisfaction and Cognitive Health Status Among University Students in Nigeria by Gender and Ethnicity, American Journal of Health Research. Vol. 5, No. 2, 2017, pp. 25-37. doi: 10.11648/j.ajhr.20170502.12
Copyright © 2017 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abdel-khalek A, EL - Ansari W (2004). Gender differences in anxiety among undergraduates from ten Arab countries. Journal of Social Behaviour and Personality, 32 (7), 649-656.
Adewuya AO, Ola BA, Aloba, OO, Mapayi BM, Oginni OO (2006). Depression amongst Nigerian university students. J. Soc. Psy. Psy. Epid., 41; 674-678.
Akinsola MK, Awofala AO (2009). Effect of personalization of instruction on student’s achievement and self-efficacy in mathematics word problems. Int. J. Math. Edu. Sci. Tech. 40 (3), 389-404.
Akuede O, Idogho PO, Imonikhe JS (2012) Increasing access to university education in Nigeria: Present challenges and suggestions for the future. The Afri. Sym.12 (1), 3-12.
Aldeen LD, Ibrahim C (2014). Knowledge and practice of dietary and healthy lifestyle in a sample of medical and non-medical college students in Baghda. World Fam. Med. Journal, 12 (3).
Aniebue P, Onyema G. (2008). Prevalence of depressive symptoms among Nigerian medical undergraduates. Royal Soc. Med. Pre., 38 (3), 157-158.
Antonovsky A. (1993). The structure and properties of the sense of coherence scale. J. Soc. Sci. Med. 36, 725-33.
Aregbeshola RA (2011). The political, economic and dynamics of Nigeria: A synop. Asia. Brief., 39, 1-7.
Bandura A (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercises of control. In Bandura A, Capprara GV, Barbaranelli C, Gerbino M, Pasorelli C (EDS). The role of affective self-regulatory efficacy in diverse spheres of psychological functioning. J. Child Dev. 74: 769-782.
Bangdiwala SI, Fonn S, Okoye O, Tollman S (2010). Work force resources for health in developing countries. J. Pub. Heal. Rev., 32: 296-318.
BayramN, Bilgel N (2008). The prevalence and socio-demographic correlations of depression, anxiety and stress among a group of university students. J. Soc. Psy. Psy. Epid., 43, 667-672.
Dahlgren G, Whitehead (1991). In Lewis GH, Sheringham J, Kalim K, Crayford JB (Eds.), Mastering public health: A postgraduate guide to examinations and revalidation. London, Edward Arnold, pp. 277-278.
Dahlin M, Joneborg, N, Runeson, B. (2005). Stress and depression among medical students: A cross-sectional study. J. Med. Edu. 39, 594-604.
David LS (2001) Satisfaction with life among international students: In exploratory study. J. Soc. Ind. Res. 53: 315-337.
Diener E, Emmons RA, Larsen RJ, Griffin S (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. J. Per. Ass. 49, 71-75.
Dorahy MJ, Lewis CA, Schumaker, JF, Akuamoah-Boateng R, DuzeMC, Sibiya TE (1998). A cross-cultural analysis of religion and life satisfaction. J. Ment. Heal. Rel. 1 (1), 37-43.
Dusselier l, Dunn B, Wang Y, Shelley MC, Whalen DF (2005). Personal, health, academic and environmental predictors of stress for residence hall students. J. Am. Coll. Heal.54 (l).
Ebert SA, Tucker DC, Roth, DL (2002). Psychological resistance factors as predictors of general health status and physical symptom reporting. J. Psy. Heal. Med. 7 (3).
Ekpenyong CE, Udokang NE, Akpan EE, Samson TK (2012). Double Burden, Non-communicable diseases and risk factors evaluation in sub-saharan Africa: the Nigerian experience. Eur. J. Sust. Dev. 1 (2), 249-270.
Eriksson M, Lindstrom B (2007). Antonovsky’s sense of coherence scale and its relation with quality of life: A systematic review. J. Epid. Comm. Heal. 61 (11), 938-944.
Gajdosova B, Orosova O, Geckova MA, Tavel P, Van Dijk JP (2009). Personality dimensions, sense of coherence and self-esteem as Risk/protective factors for smoking among university students. J. Stud. Psy. 15, 2-3.
Garrusi B, Safizadch H, Pourhosseni O. (2008). A study on the Lifestyle of the Iranian university students. Iran J. psy. Behav. Sci., 2 (2).
Gilman R, Huebner ES (2003). A review of life satisfaction research with children and adolescents. J. Sch. Psy. Quart. 18, 192-205.
Huebneri ES (2004). Research on assessment of life satisfaction of children and adolescents. J. Soc. Ind. Res., 66, 3-33.
Jegede PO (2009). Predictors of JAVA programming self-efficacy among engineering students in Nigerian university. Int. J. comp. sci. Inf. Sec. 4 (1&2).
Levenson, H. (1981). Differentiating between internal, powerful others and chance. In H. M. Lefcourt (Ed.), Research with the Locus of Control construct. (Vol. 1 pp 15-63) New York: Academic press.
Marshall LL, Allison A, Nykamp D, Lanke S (2008). Perceived stress and quality of life among doctors of pharmacy students. Am. J. Pham. Edu., 15, 72 (6). 137
Mathney KB, Curlette WL, Williams LC, Ferda, A, Coleman AG, Dennis T, Errol H (2004). Coping resources, perceived stress and life satisfaction among Turkish and American university students. Int. J. Str. Manag.9, 81-97.
Michinov N. (2005). Social comparison, perceived control and occupational burnout. Appl. Psy. Int. Rev. 54 (1), 99-118.
Mikolajczyk RT, Maxwell AE, Naydenova V, Meier S, Ansari W (2008). Depressive symptoms and perceived burdens related to being a student: Survey in three European countries. J. Cli. Pract. Epid. Ment. Heal .4 (19).
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS, 2010). The review of the Nigerian economy. Retrieved on May, 2, 2012 from
Onyezugbo EU (2010). Self-efficacy and test anxiety as correlates of academic performance. Int. Res. J. 1 (10), 477-480.
Pinninti NR, Madison H, Musser E, Rissmiller D (2003). MINI International Neuropsychiatric Schedule: Clinical utility and patient acceptance. J Eur. Psy.361-364.
Pugliese RR. (1994). Tele course persistence and psychological variables. Am. J. Dist. Edu.8 (3), 2239.
Pullman AW, Masters RC, Zalot LC (2009). Effect of the transition from high school to university on anthropometric and lifestyles variables in males. J. Appl. Phy. Nutr. Metab.34 (2): 162-171.
Sabbah I, Sabbah, H, Khamis, R, Sabbah, S, Droubl, N (2013). Health related quality of life of university students in Lebanon: lifestyles behaviours and socio-demographic predictors. Open Access Journal, 5 (714), 1-12
Salami SO (2010). Occupational stress and well-being: Emotional intelligence, self-efficacy, coping, negative affectivity and social support as moderators. J. Int. Soc. Res. 3(12).
Salami SO (2010). Occupational stress and well-being: Emotional intelligence, self-efficacy, coping, negative affectivity and social support as moderators. J. Int. Soc. Res. 3 (12).
Schmidt M (2012). Predictors of self-rated health and lifestyle behaviours in Swedish university students. Glob. J. Heal. Sci. 4 (4)1-14.
Schwarzer R, Jerusalem E (1992). Self-efficacy in the adoption and maintenance of health behaviours: Theoretical approaches and a new model. Res. Sci. Spor. Exer.32, 5498.
Seyedfatemi N, Tafreshi M, Hamid H (2007). Experienced stressors and coping strategies among Iranian nursing students. BMC Nur. J. 6: 11.
Steptoe A, Wardle J (2001). Locus of control and health behaviour revisited: A multivariate analysis of young adults from 18 countries. Brit. J. Psy. 92, 659-672.
Stock C, Mikolajczyk RT, Bilir N, Petkeviciene J, Naydenova V, Dudziak, U, Marin-Fernandez B, EL Ansari W (2007). Gender differences in students’ health complaints: A survey in seven countries. J. Pub. Heal. 16 (5), 353 – 360.
Ucha C (2010). Poverty in Nigeria: some dimensions and contributing factors. J. Glob. Maj. 1 (1), pp. 46-56.
Van RensburgCJ,Surujlal N (2013). Gender differences related to the health and lifestyle patterns of university students. J. Int. Heal. Sci. 18 (1).
Virens S, Tomas CP, Dhachayan IS, Thambu M, Kumaraswami K, Debbi S, Adrian, F. (2007). General health mediates the relationship between loneliness life satisfaction and depression: A study with Malasian medical students. J. Soc. Psy. Psy. Epid. 42, 161-166.
Wardle J, Steptoe A, Gulis G, Sek H, Todorova I, Vogele C, Ziarko M (2004). Depression perceived control, and life satisfaction in university students from central- Eastern and western Europe. Int. J. Behav. Med. 11 (1), 27-36.
World Federation for Mental Health. (2009). Depression and HIV AIDS: An Overview of the International Research. Accessed on February, 10, 2010, from
World Health organization. (WHO, 2005). Preventing chronic diseases: a vital investment. WHO global report. Geneva: World Health Organization. Retrieved on May, 21, 2013, from http://www.who/chp/chronic_disease_report/fo
Ying Y, Lee PA, Tsai, JL (2009). Attachment sense of coherence, and mental health among Chines American college students: Variation by migration status. Int. J. Intercul. Rel. 31; 531-544.
Zawawi JA, Hamaideh SH. (2009). Depressive symptoms and their correlates with locus of control and satisfaction with life among Jordanian college students. Eur. J. of Psy., PP. 71-103.
Browse journals by subject