UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The college condition : the impact of post-secondary academic environments on undergraduate student mental health stigma, service use and illnesses Malette, Nicole Solanges


I test three aspects of student mental health as impacted by academic environments: variations in mental health stigma, mental health service use and mental illnesses (e.g. depression and anxiety). In order to bring evidence to bear on how stigma and school environment are related I built a multi-level dataset by combining several years of data (2007 to 2014) from the University of Michigan’s Health Minds Survey (HMS) and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). This unique dataset consisted of 52,469 student respondents from 59 higher education institutions for the years 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. My analytic strategy employed multi-level mixed-effects linear models of individual and school level influences to investigate links between school environments and student stigma. This work demonstrates that 1) institutional contexts do influence students’ stigmatization of others and 2) students at less selective schools, schools perceived to be more competitive and schools with more stigmatizing climates are all more likely to stigmatize others. I next investigated rates of mental health service use among Canadian and American university students. Using the 2014/2015 HMS dataset, analysis for this work focuses on undergraduate mental health service use from two Canadian universities and three American universities (N = 4,158), using logistic regression models. Findings from this research demonstrate that 1) the overall proportions of Canadian and American undergraduate mental health service use are significantly different, and 2) there are no significant variations in service use by individual characteristics, perceptions’ of school environment, feelings of stigma, financial situations or knowledge of were to seek help. I also compared Canadian and American undergraduate student mental health. Using logistic regression models to test whether social determinants of health and perceptions of school environments influence the likelihood for experiencing mental illnesses (N = 4,158), I find that 1) the proportions of experiencing anxiety and depression is not significantly different for Canadian and American undergraduate students, 2) potential social determinants of health, such as discrimination, economic difficulties and healthcare access, all have significant negative relationships with anxiety and depression for both Canadian and American undergraduate students.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International