Association between depression and health risk behaviors among university students, Karachi, Pakistan

Rehana Rehman, Kiran Fatima, Mehwish Hussain, Mohammad Sarim, Zohair Jamil Gazzaz, Mukhtiar Baig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In our society, people’s health behaviors are considered a dilemma that can intensify the probability of developing a disease in the future. This study aimed to investigate the association between health risk behaviors and depression among a sample of university students, Karachi, Pakistan. A self-reported health behavior questionnaire was distributed to 813 consented students. The Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D-10) questionnaire was used, a short, self-report scale that measures the recent level of depressive symptomatology, primarily focusing on depressed mood. Their results were further compared with some important health behaviors and social activities. At the univariate stage, the chi-square test was executed to compare the characteristics of categorical variables with depression status. The effect size was measured in terms of the odds ratio (OR) using logistic regression models. According to the adopted classification of CES-D, one out of eight students were found to be depressed. Among students’, females were found to be 70% more depressed than males (OR: 1.7, 95% CI: 0.9–3.0). Depression was higher among students who were not satisfied with their lives, were socially isolated, had trouble sleeping, little control over things, and the future depends on others. The chances of depression were 90% higher among students who did not share private concerns with others (P = 0.01). Overall, depression prevalence was 12.5%, and it was associated with dissatisfaction with life, social isolation, insomnia, and others. Female students were found to be more depressed compared to males.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1886626
JournalCogent Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Health risk behaviors
  • depression
  • physical inactivity
  • unhealthy diet


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