Depressive, anxiety and stress symptoms among young people from three European countries and correlations between psychological distress and rumination, procrastination, perfectionism and coping  [presentation, pdf, 1767 kB]

Ederer Fick E. M., Essau C., O’Callaghan J., Bokszczanin A., Sasagawa S.
First author's affiliation: University of Graz, Department of Education, Special Education Unit, Graz, Austria

Psychological distress such as depression, anxiety and stress among young people represents a major health concern. This study compared depressive, anxiety and stress symptoms and their correlates in British, Austrian, and Polish undergraduate students (N = 1,176, Mean age = 22.9 years). The participants completed a set of self-report questionnaires which were used to measure psychological distress (Depression, anxiety, and stress scale DASS; Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995), rumination (Rumination subscale of the perfectionism inventory; Hill et al., 2004), procrastination (Decisional procrastination scale; Mann 1982), perfectionism (Frost multidimensional perfectionism scale FMPS; Frost et al., 1993), and coping strategies (Ways of coping checklist questionnaire WOCC; Folkman & Lazaruz, 1984). The cohort from the Austria reported significantly lower levels of psychological distress than students from Poland or from the United Kingdom. The highest level of psychological distress was found in Poland. Females compared to males reported significantly higher scores on psychological distress as a whole, and particularly on the stress symptoms. No significant main effects were found for age groups on the DASS and on any of its subscales. In all countries, DASS total correlated significantly positive with rumination, procrastination, emotion-focused coping, and on the different dimensions of perfectionism (concern over mistakes, parental expectations, parental criticism, doubts about actions). In each country, rumination was a significant predictor of psychological distress. On the background of these results clinical implications in the development of prevention and intervention programmes to address psychological distress among students in the university settings will be discussed.