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Prevalence of depression and anxiety among undergraduate university students in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review protocol

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James January, Munyaradzi Madhombiro, Shalote Chipamaunga, Sunanda Ray, Alfred Chingono, Melanie Abas

Original languageEnglish
Article number57
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2018

King's Authors


Background: Depression and anxiety symptoms are reported to be common among university students in many regions of the world and impact on quality of life and academic attainment. The extent of the problem of depression and anxiety among students in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is largely unknown. This paper details methods for a systematic review that will be conducted to explore the prevalence, antecedents, consequences, and treatments for depression and anxiety among undergraduate university students in LMICs. Methods: Studies reporting primary data on common mental disorders among students in universities and colleges within LMICs will be included. Quality assessment of retrieved articles will be conducted using four Joanna Briggs critical appraisal checklists for prevalence, randomized control/pseudo-randomized trials, descriptive case series, and comparable cohort/case control. Meta-analysis of the prevalence of depression and anxiety will be conducted using a random effects model which will generate pooled prevalence with their respective 95% confidence intervals. Discussion: The results from this systematic review will help in informing and guiding healthcare practitioners, planners, and policymakers on the burden of common mental disorders in university students in LMICs and of appropriate and feasible interventions aimed at reducing the burden of psychological morbidity among them. The results will also point to gaps in research and help set priorities for future enquiries. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42017064148

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