The Prevalence of High Anxiety and Substance Use in University Students in the Republic of Macedonia

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Aim: The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of high anxiety and substance use among university students in the Republic of Macedonia.

Material and methods: The sample comprised 742 students, aged 18–22 years, who attended the first (188 students) and second year studies at the Medical Faculty (257), Faculty of Dentistry (242), and Faculty of Law (55) within Ss. Cyril and Methodius Universityin Skopje. As a psychometric test the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) was used. It is a self-rating questionnaire used for measuring the severity of anxiety. A psychiatric interview was performed with students with BAI scores > 25. A self-administered questionnaire consisted of questions on the habits of substance (alcohol, nicotine, sedative-hypnotics, and illicit drugs) use and abuse was also used. For statistical evaluation Statistica 7 software was used.

Results: The highest mean BAI scores were obtained by first year medical students (16.8 ± 9.8). Fifteen percent of all students and 20% of first year medical students showed high levels of anxiety. Law students showed the highest prevalence of substance use and abuse.

Conclusion: High anxiety and substance use as maladaptive behaviours among university students are not systematically investigated in our country. The study showed that students show these types of unhealthy reactions, regardless of the curriculum of education. More attention should be paid to students in the early stages of their education. A student counselling service which offers mental health assistance needs to be established within University facilities in R. Macedonia alongside the existing services in our health system.

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