Tanzania Journal of Health Research

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Cognitive and social predictors of generalized anxiety disorder symptoms among fresh undergraduates in Uganda

Gregory C. Umeh, Paul Bangirana


Background: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is common. It accounts for about one out of four anxiety related clinic consultations. The prevalence of this common disorder and the associated factors in Ugandan students are unknown. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of GAD symptoms, and to evaluate its association with intolerance of uncertainty and parental attachment among fresh undergraduates in Uganda.

Methods: The research utilized a cross-sectional approach. Non-clinical participants from 8 colleges (mean age 21.24; 59.7% males, 40.3% females) completed self-report inventories measuring intolerance of uncertainty, parental attachment and GAD symptoms. Pearson’s correlations were run to test relationship between the independent and dependent variables, a stepwise regression analysis was used to identify predictors of GAD, while controlling for age.

Results: A total of 401 students were involved in the study. The prevalence of GAD symptoms was 28.9%. There was a significant positive relationship between GAD symptoms and intolerance of uncertainty (r = 0.30, p = 0.001) and with parental attachment (r = 0.21, p = 0.001). Intolerance of uncertainty and parental attachment, predicted GAD symptoms (r = 0.30, 95% CI = 0.30 to 6.16, p = 0.001; r = 0.21, 95% CI = 0.21 to 4.19, p = 0.001, respectively).

Conclusion:  The present research suggests that GAD symptoms are prevalent among fresh undergraduates and are associated with both intolerances of uncertainty and parental attachment. Psychological interventions for undergraduate students may be needed to target these factors.
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