Identidade, discriminação e saúde mental em estudantes universitários / Identity, discrimination and mental health in undergraduate students


IBICT - Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia




Objectives: To research, on a sample of undergraduate students from the University of Campinas, if reports of different kinds of experiences of feeling discriminated can be related to worse indicators of quality of life and to psychopathological repercussions, identifying possible social, ethnic, demographic and cultural factors which can exert modulation on these perceptions. Methods: Cross-sectional study, with data collected from October 2,005 to November 2,006, including students of both genders, regularly enrolled in various courses of daytime and nighttime periods from the campuses of Barão Geraldo (Campinas) and Limeira, in which there were analyzed answers to an anonymous self-administered questionnaire, applied in the classroom. Sample was proportional to the areas of the courses. Quantitative instruments were used to assess quality of life (WHOQOL-Bref: abbreviated World Health Organization Quality of Life assessment), mental health (M.I.N.I.: Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview); potentially hazardous use of alcohol (AUDIT: The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test), and use of other psychoactive substances (an inventory based on the method of the Brazilian Center for Information on Psychotropic Drugs - CEBRID). Quantitative answers of White, Black and Brown students were compared by simple bivariate analysis and open answers to questions applied only to Black/Brown students were analyzed by thematic groupings. Secondly, it was performed a sample pairing procedure, with two groups ("Whites" and "Blacks/Browns"), matched according to socioeconomic characteristics of the latter. Subsequent analysis consisted of descriptive frequencies, non-parametric tests (chi-square and Mann-Whitney) and linear and logistic regressions models (both univariate and multivariate). The level of significance for the statistical analysis was 5%. Results: 1,174 students were included in the initial sample (89.8% of the respondents: 1,001 Whites, 144 Browns and 29 Blacks), and 346 in the matched sample. Black/Brown students were the group with more socioeconomic disadvantages, less quality of life and with internal differences in terms of assumption of ethnic or racial identity, with Blacks reporting more discrimination, but showing more pride and exploration of Afro culture than Browns. Considering the two groups together, there was a predominance of under than 26 year-old students, females and individuals from families of low and middle socioeconomic income. Indicators of possible mental health disorders and experiences of discrimination were common, mostly those related to physical appearance and to socioeconomic status. There were correlations between certain social and demographic characteristics, specific reports of discrimination and influences on quality of life, on groups of psychological complaints and on potentially hazardous use of psychoactive substances. Conclusions: Categories of discrimination and personal characteristics suggestive of feelings of inferiority were mainly correlated to affective and internalized psychological complaints and to worse quality of life, while those suggestive of being apart from the mainstream, by specific personal characteristics, were more related to anxious complaints and potentially hazardous use of alcohol and other psychoactive substances.


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