Associations between witnessing parental violence and experiencing symptoms of depression among college students
AbstractObjective: To examine the association between witnessing parental violence in childhood and experience of depressive symptoms during the academic year among college students in Awassa, Ethiopia.
Methods: A total of 2,708 undergraduate students (1,330 female and 1,378 male) completed a self-administered questionnaire that collected
information concerning witnessing parental violence as a child, symptoms of depression during the current academic year. Logistic
regression procedures were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).
Results: Approximately 22.7% female students and 27.1% of the male students reported witnessing parental violence. Females who
witnessed parental violence were twice as likely to report moderate depression (OR=2.04:95% CI 1.32-3.15), or 3-times as likely to report moderately severe depression (OR=3.02:95% CI: 1.67-5.47) as compared with those who did not witness parental violence. The
corresponding ORs were 1.71 (95% CI:1.13-2.59) and 2.42 (95% CI:1.41-4.13) for male students. Female students who witnessed
parental violence were 2.4-times (OR=2.37, 95% CI: 1.26-4.44) more likely to report feeling bad about themselves 2.6 times (OR=2.62:
95% CI: 1.66-4.14) more likely to have trouble in concentrating compared with those who did not witness parental violence. Male
students who witnessed parental violence were almost twice as likely to report having suicidal thoughts compared with their
counterparts who did not witness parental violence (OR=1.97, 95% CI:1.16-3.34).
Conclusion: Intervention programs focused on domestic violence must also address the needs of young adults from affected households.
School-based counseling services may be one modality for addressing the needs of youths exposed to violence.