Mental health and academic outcomes over the first year at university in international compared to domestic Canadian students.
King N., Rivera D., Cunningham S., Pickett W., Harkness K., McNevin SH., Milanovic M., Byun J., Khanna A., Atkinson J., Saunders KEA., Duffy A.
OBJECTIVE: To compare risk factors and associated mental health and academic outcomes between international and domestic students. PARTICIPANTS: Canadian university undergraduate students. METHODS: Electronic surveys were completed at university entry and the end of first year. Surveys assessed demographics, risk factors, symptoms of mental disorders, and access to support. Academic outcomes were obtained from university databases. RESULTS: International students had comparable or lower rates of clinically significant anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Domestic female students reported the highest screening rates for common mental disorders. However, international students were more likely to report having attempted suicide. International students felt less connected to the university community and had lower academic performance. Psychosocial risk factor profiles and proportions accessing mental health services were similar. CONCLUSIONS: The scope of mental health need appears more similar than different between international and domestic students; however, international students may benefit from targeted academic and social support initiatives.