College Kids Are Getting More Depressed

An annual survey of college freshmen released on Thursday shows that a worrisome proportion of them had felt depressed and overwhelmed during the previous year. An intensifying pressure to succeed is taking a toll on college-bound high school seniors. The pressure is worsened by the fact that they have lost the ability to kick back and relax among friends.

The survey was conducted by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the University of California, Los Angeles’s Higher Education Research Institute. It found that 9.5 percent of respondents had “frequently” felt depressed during the previous year – a significant increase over the 6.1 percent reported five years ago. According to the study, these students were about twice as likely to frequently come late to class and fall asleep in class. More than half of the “frequently” depressed students also reported that they were often bored in class.

One of the striking about the students is how hermetic their lives have become. In 1987, 37.9% of incoming college students socialized at least 16 hours per week with friends, while 18.1% spent five hours or less. But by 2014, only 18% of students reported spending at least 16 hours per week socializing with friends — an all-time low. Even so, a third of students believe that it will take more than four years to earn their degrees. <Read more.>

Via Brent Staples, The New York Times.