Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Relationship between Depression and Anxiety among Undergraduate Students in Eighteen Arab Countries: A Cross-Cultural Study

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Relationship between Depression and Anxiety among Undergraduate Students in Eighteen Arab Countries: A Cross-Cultural Study

Article excerpt

To gain more understanding of the relationship between anxiety and depression, the Kuwait University Anxiety Scale (KUAS; Abdel-Khalek, 2000) and the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II; Ghareek, 2000) were administrated to 9168 participants (4230 males and 4938 females) in 18 Arab countries, their ages ranging from 18-25 years. Findings indicate that depression is positively significantly correlated with anxiety (mdn= 0.66 p< 0.01). This finding may be because anxiety and depression are often found correlated positively with depression even in nonclinical samples. Findings are discussed in terms of previous research.

Keywords: depression, anxiety, Kuwait University Anxiety Scale, Beck Depression Inventory II, undergraduates, Arab and cross-cultural studies.

Recently much attention has focused on the correlation between depression and anxiety among adults. Anxiety and depressive disorder are important issues that have received considerable attention recently (see the review by Mineka, Watson, & Clark, 1998). These disorders are sometimes even viewed as different aspects of the same disorder with some quantitative differences between them (Lipman, 1982; Stavrakaki & Vargo, 1986). Accordingly, self-report symptom measures suggest good convergent - but poor discriminant - validity.

Additional evidence of a relation between the longitudinal courses of anxiety and depression can be derived from studies that examine whether the presence of anxiety at baseline increases the likehood of developing depression over a follow-up period. One study demonstrated that symptoms of anxiety significantly elevated the risk of developing depression over a one year follow-up period (Standford et al., 1995). Other studies using children and adolescents have shown that the presence of anxiety symptoms increases the likelihood of developing depressive symptoms several years later (Reinherz et al., 1993).

Current research indicates that there is a strong relation between anxiety disorders and depression. Assessment measures show high rates of correlation between depression and anxiety and much of the overlap may be related to a common domain of negative affectivity. Anxious youth and depressed youth share a cognitive style marked by a negative bias in information processing. Some evidence suggests that anxiety disorders may precede depression in many adolescents and adults who suffered from both disorders, perhaps indicating a potential causal link between anxiety and depression for some adults. However, many other comorbid disorders also precede the development of depression in adolescents and adults, so the temporal or causal effect may not be specific to anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders and depression are frequently comorbid in adolescents and adults. About 25-50% of depressed youth exhibit comorbid anxiety disorders and about 10-15% of anxious youth have depression. And adults with comorbid depression anxiety have more severe symptoms compared with noncomorbid depressed or anxious adults though the effect of comorbidity on the overall course of illness is unclear. Most studies indicate that the prevalence of anxiety disorders and depression increase from childhood to adolescence (David & Boris, 2001).

Many researchers (e.g., Beck, Brown, Street, Eidelson, & Riskind, 1987; Clark, Beck, & Stewart, 1990; Clark, Steer, & Beck, 1994) suggest that there are specific as well as general factors in anxiety and depression. Beck and his colleagues (Beck, 1976; Beck et al., 1987; Beck & Clark, 1988; Clark, Beck, & Brown, 1989; Clark, Beck, & Stewart, 1990; Clark, Steer, & Beck, 1994) suggest that these disorders are characterized by different cognitive contents: depression being associated with loss and failure, while anxiety is associated with harm and danger. Still the overlap between anxiety and depression exists on self-report measures.

Tanak-Matsumi and Kameoka (1986) studied the relationship between depression and anxiety scales and raised some interesting questions regarding the use of these measures on a nonclinical population. …

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