Prediction of major depressive disorder onset in college students

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Ebert D, Buntrock C, Mortier P, Auerbach R, Weisel KK, Kessler RC, Cuijpers P, Green JG, Kiekens G, Nock MK, Demyttenaere K, Bruffaerts R
Journal: Depression and Anxiety
Publication year: 2019
Volume: 36
Journal issue: 4
Pages range: 294-304
ISSN: 1091-4269
eISSN: 1520-6394


Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) in college students is associated with substantial burden. Aims: To assess 1-year incidence of MDD among incoming freshmen and predictors of MDD-incidence in a representative sample of students. Method: Prospective cohort study of first-year college students (baseline: n = 2,519, 1-year follow-up: n = 958). Results: The incidence of MDD within the first year of college was 6.9% (SE = 0.8). The most important individual-level predictors of onset were prior suicide plans and/or attempts (OR = 9.5). The strongest population-level baseline predictors were history of childhood–adolescent trauma, stressful experience in the past 12 months, parental psychopathology, and other 12-month mental disorder. Multivariate cross-validated prediction (cross-validated AUC = 0.73) suggest that 36.1% of incident MDD cases in a replication sample would occur among the 10% of students at highest predicted risk (24.5% predicted incidence in this highest-risk subgroup). Conclusions: Screening at college entrance is a promising strategy to identify students at risk of MDD onset, which may improve the development and deployment of targeted preventive interventions.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Buntrock, Claudia
Lehrstuhl für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie
Ebert, David Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie

External institutions with authors

Boston University
Harvard University
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) / Catholic University of Leuven
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) / University Amsterdam

How to cite

Ebert, D., Buntrock, C., Mortier, P., Auerbach, R., Weisel, K.K., Kessler, R.C.,... Bruffaerts, R. (2019). Prediction of major depressive disorder onset in college students. Depression and Anxiety, 36(4), 294-304.

Ebert, David, et al. "Prediction of major depressive disorder onset in college students." Depression and Anxiety 36.4 (2019): 294-304.


Last updated on 2019-23-05 at 09:06