Prevalence of Depressive Symptoms among College Students and the Influence of Sport Activity

Boran Uglešić, Davor Lasić, Marija Žuljan-Cvitanović, Damir Buković, Deni Karelović, Dijana Delić Brkljačić, Nevia Buković, Mirjana Radan


The present study asses the prevalence of depressive symptoms among college students in Split, Croatia, and positive influence of sport activity on decreasing the depression symptoms.   Authors screened all 664 college students of the first year of study. All of them were over the 18 years and the mean age was 19.4 ± 1.2 years. There were 466 females (70.2 %) and 178 (26.8 %) males. They answered The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and questionnaire about their sport activity (no sport activity, recreational and active in sports). For the purpose of the analysis depressive symptoms were defined as a score of > 11. Chi-square and Mann-Whitney test were used for data analysis. 9.4 % of the students had significant depression symptoms (score > 11). No one student had score > 26 (symptoms of major depression). Statistically significant lower score on BDI have students who are active in sports (score median = 3) compared to group of recreational (score median = 4) and in correlation to group who are not active in sports (score median = 5) (Kruskal – Wallis: p<0.001). In the group of active in sports (n = 254) there are only 5.5 % with depressions symptoms, while in the group of non active in sports (n = 60) are 18 depressive (χ² test: p = 0,005). Females are statistically more depressed than males (χ² test: p = 0.01). In the female group 49 (10.5%) are depressed, and in the male group are 9 (5%). Compared to gender in separate analysis we did not find correlation of decreasing depression symptoms and sport activity among males (χ² test: p = 0.47), while in females we find that sport activity has significant effect (χ² test: p =0.026). Our results shoved moderate values of depression symptoms among college population in Split, Croatia. More females than males experienced depressive symptoms. While sport activity did not have significant influence on the depression in male population, it has significant influence in reducing the depression symptoms among females.


Key words: depression, sport activity, adolescence

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