Prevalence of depression and anxiety and associated factors among students in southern Brazil: results from Respire study

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César Augusto Häfele
Natan Feter
Marina Marques Kremer
Giancarlo Bacchieri
Thiago Terra Borges


Introduction: The prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms has significantly increased in Brazil since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the studies investigating the prevalence of these symptoms in school-aged in Brazil are scanty. Objective: To identify the prevalence of moderate or severe symptoms of depression and anxiety and the associated factors among students in southern Brazil. Methods: This was a census study with all 14 sites of the Federal Institute Sul-rio-grandense. We used a self-administered, online instrument to assess biological, sociodemographic, health, nutrition, and behavior-related variables. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale assessed depression and anxiety. Results: The sample consisted of 5,112 students. The prevalence of students who presented moderate or severe symptoms of anxiety and depression was 34.3% and 24.3%, respectively. In the fully adjusted analysis, factors associated with anxiety and depression symptoms were female sex, low income, screen time at work, worse health perception, unhealthy diet, poor sleep quality, smoking, alcohol consumption, and medication use. Early age and students whose family members or friends died from COVID-19 were associated with anxiety. Married and having less screen time during leisure was a protective factor for depression. Physical activity reduced by 18% and 33% the likelihood of moderate or severe symptoms of anxiety and depression, respectively. Conclusion: Public policies to improve the health care of Brazilian students during the return to face-to-face activities are required.


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Häfele, C. A., Feter, N., Kremer, M. M., Bacchieri, G., & Borges, T. T. (2024). Prevalence of depression and anxiety and associated factors among students in southern Brazil: results from Respire study. ABCS Health Sciences, 49, e024210.
Original Articles


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