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Graduate Students’ Emotional Disorders and Associated Negative Life Events: A Cross-Sectional Study from Changsha, China

Authors Liu X, Xiao S, Luo D, Zhang J, Qin L, Yin X

Received 25 October 2019

Accepted for publication 7 July 2020

Published 1 September 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1391—1401

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RMHP.S236011

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Kent Rondeau


Xiao-kun Liu,1– 3 Shui-yuan Xiao,2,4 Dan Luo,4 Jiang-hua Zhang,5 Lu-lu Qin,6 Xun-qiang Yin4

1The First Affiliated Hospital of Hainan Medical University, Haikou, People’s Republic of China; 2Mental Health Center, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410008, People’s Republic of China; 3Key Laboratory of Brain Science Research & Transformation in Tropical Environment of Hainan Province; 4Xiangya School of Public Health, Central South University, Changsha, People’s Republic of China; 5Student Affairs Office of Central South University, Hunan, People’s Republic of China; 6Department of Social Medicine and Health Management, School of Medicine, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Shui-yuan Xiao Mental Health Center, Xiangya Hospital, 87 Xiangya Road, Changsha 410087, Hunan, People’s Republic of China
Fax +86-0731-84327332
Email shuiyuanxiao1503@163.com

Purpose: The aim of this study was to develop a scale to quantify the negative life events of graduate students; and to identify the associations between negative life events and emotional disorders among them.
Methods: Based on a literature review, qualitative interviews and direct consultation with experts in relevant fields, the study served to identify the items that could be included in the Negative Life Events Scale for graduates (LES-GS). Psychometrics was used to analyze the items for reliability and validity. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Changsha, China to explore the association between negative life events and emotional disorders among master’s and PhD students. LES-GS, Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale-7 (GAD-7) were utilized in the survey.
Results: The LES-GS exhibited acceptable reliability and validity. A total of 13.24% of master’s and 16.60% of PhD students experienced moderate to severe depression symptoms. Additionally, a total of 9.04% of master’s students and 15.47% of PhD students experienced moderate to severe anxiety symptoms. Among the master’s students, five long-term events and one short-term event life events (these included “tension with family members”; “the graduation project is not going well”; “not interested in the major”; “poor relationship with partner or spouse”, “long-term financial stress”, and “dispute with the mentor”) were associated with an increased likelihood of emotional disorders among them. Among the PhD students, “death of a close family member” and “the publication of academic papers fails to meet the graduation requirements” were associated with an increased likelihood of emotional disorders.
Conclusion: The LES-GS could be used to assess life events for graduate students. The treatment of emotional problems for the master’s students and the doctorial students should be designed differently.

Keywords: graduate students, negative life events, emotional disorders, depression, anxiety

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