Depression and anxiety among university students in Hong Kong. Academic Article uri icon


  • Entry into tertiary education is a critical juncture where adolescents proceed to adulthood. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of depression and anxiety, and factors associated with such symptoms, among university undergraduate students in Hong Kong.A cross-sectional questionnaire study was employed. A total of 1200 undergraduate students from eight University Grants Committee-funded universities were invited to complete three sets of questionnaires, including the 9-item patient health questionnaire for screening of depressive symptoms, the 7-item generalised anxiety disorder scale for screening of anxiety symptoms, and a socio-demographic questionnaire.Among the valid responses (n=1119) analysed, 767 (68.5%) respondents indicated mild to severe depressive symptoms, which were associated with mild to severe anxiety symptoms. Several lifestyle and psychosocial variables, including regular exercise, self-confidence, satisfaction with academic performance, and optimism towards the future were inversely related with mild to severe depressive symptoms. A total of 599 (54.4%) respondents indicated mild to severe anxiety symptoms, which were associated with level of academic difficulty. Satisfaction with friendship, sleep quality, and self-confidence were inversely associated with mild to severe anxiety symptoms.More than 50% of respondents expressed some degree of depressive and anxiety symptoms (68.5% and 54.4%, respectively). Approximately 9% of respondents exhibited moderately severe to severe depressive symptoms; 5.8% exhibited severe anxiety symptoms. Respondents reporting regular exercise, higher self-confidence, and better satisfaction with both friendship and academic performance had fewer depressive and anxiety symptoms.

publication date

  • October 2018