Does Education Setting Influence the Relationship between Substance use and Depression among Post Secondary Students
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Background. This study examined whether experiences of and relationships between depressive symptoms and substance use differs for first year college and university students. Methods. A proportionate stratified random sample of 6,100 university students and a census sample of 7,300 college students were invited to anonymously complete the National College Health Assessment. The final sample included 444 young adult first year university (n = 298) and college (n = 146) students. Results. More college than university students used tobacco (26.7; 11.1%) and marijuana (26.7%; 20.8%). Similar proportions consumed alcohol (75.3%; 76.5%). Almost all students reported past-year depressive symptoms. Mean number of symptoms was 5.43. Tobacco, alcohol and marijuana use were each positively associated with depression after adjusting for age and gender. Educational setting moderated the relationship between depression and tobacco use, and depression and marijuana use, with the relationship being stronger for university students. Implications. University campus health professionals especially, need to assess depression among students using substances and vice versa. Differences between college and university students require further attention.