Objective: To investigate differences in prevalence of mood elevation, distress and depression among first-year undergraduates at Oxford and Stanford universities.
Method: An online survey was sent to Oxford and Stanford first-year undergraduate students for two consecutive years in the winter of 2005 and 2006. Students completed a survey that assessed mood symptoms and medication use.
Results: Both universities had similar rates of distress by General Health Questionnaire (Oxford – 42.4%; Stanford – 38.3%), depression by Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders (Oxford – 6.2%; Stanford – 6.6%), and psychotropic and non-psychotropic medication usage (psychotropic: Oxford – 1.5%; Stanford 3.5%; non-psychotropic: Oxford – 13.3%; Stanford – 18%). Oxford had higher rates of mood elevation by Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) (Oxford – 4%; Stanford – 1.7%).
Conclusion: Oxford and Stanford students have similar rates of mood distress, depression and general medication usage. Students at Oxford have a higher prevalence of MDQ scores that possibly indicate a bipolar disorder, while Stanford students are prescribed more psychotropics.