*Asst. Prof. Dr., Atatürk University Faculty of Education, Erzurum-TURKEY
Problem Statement: Psychological problems often emerge during periods of stress, anxiety and depression in the normal course of human life. While experiencing these negative environmental conditions, an individual may encounter personal difficulties that often manifest as adaptive difficulties with regards to university life. Unaddressed, these psychological symptoms often manifest themselves bi-directionally throughout the education period and into work and family life.
Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is primarily to determine the effects of variables that include: parent(s) living or dead; parents’ marital state; birth order and age and number of siblings, as related to negative psychological symptoms of university students. Additionally, an analysis is made to provide some degree of prediction regarding the effect of these variables with regard to adaptation to university life.
Methods: The study was conducted with the participation of university students at Atatürk University, Erzurum, Turkey. The sample of the study consists of 997 university students chosen randomly, and unproportionally chosen from the general student population. Psychological symptom scores of participating university students were obtained through Brief Symptoms Inventory (BSI). One way varianceanalysis (ANOVA), t test and regression analysis were applied for statistical analysis of the collected data.
Findings and Results: In relation to parents’ status as deceased or alive, a significant difference was found in terms of hostility and anxiety disorder scores, with a negative affect upon those whose parents(s) are deceased. Parents’ marital status led to significant differences among somatization, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety disorder, hostility, phobic anxiety and paranoid thought scores of the students, with negative effects upon those students whose parents have been divorced. With regard to students’ birth order, significant differences were found among somatization, depression, anxiety disorder, phobic anxiety, and psychoticism when comparing middle children to first- or last-born. It was found that the variables of age and number of siblings, when combined, offer a high predictive correlation with the number of siblings, which is the strongest predictive variable.
Conclusions and Recommendations: Considering these results, some psychological aid services could be arranged for university students to in order to help them lessen or overcome negative psychological symptoms. Especially for the students suffering intense psychological problems, psychological consultation centers can be established to diagnose and treat them in the best way possible via holistic rehabilitation methods.
Keywords: University students, psychological symptoms, sociodemographic features, age, number of siblings, birth order.