Symptoms and health complaints and their association with perceived stressors among students at nine Libyan universities



El Ansari W, Khalil K, Stock C.


Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Nov 25;11(12):12088-107. doi: 10.3390/ijerph111212088.


University students are exposed to many stressors. We assessed the associations between two stressors (educational related and general overall), socio-demographic characteristics (five variables), health behaviours/lifestyle factors (six variables), as well as religiosity and quality of life as independent variables, with self-reported symptoms/health complaints as dependent variables (eight health complaints). A sample of 2100 undergraduate students from nine institutions (six universities, three colleges) located in seven cities in Libya completed a general health questionnaire. The most prevalent symptoms were headaches, depressive mood, difficulties to concentrate and sleep disorder/insomnia that have been reported by 50%-60% of the students. The majority of students (62%) reported having had three or more symptoms sometimes or very often in the last 12 months. There was a positive association between perceived stressors and health symptoms, which remained significant after adjustment for gender and many other relevant factors for headache (OR 1.52; 95% CI 1.15-2.02), depressive mood (OR 2.20; 95% CI 1.64-2.94) and sleep disorder/ insomnia (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.19-2.03). Other factors independently associated with most health symptoms were female gender and poor self-perceived health. Stress management programmes and a reduction of educational related stressors might help to prevent stress-related symptoms and health complaints in this student population.

Keywords: .

Link/DOI: 10.3390/ijerph111212088