April 1974

Sex and College Year Differences in Students' Presenting Psychiatric Complaints

Author Affiliations

From the Student Mental Health Clinic (Dr. Winer), the Department of Psychiatry (Dr. Winer), and the Committee on Human Development (Mr. Moretti), University of Chicago.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;30(4):478-483. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760100046008

Student mental health clinic applicants (N = 295) were examined utilizing a newly developed rating scale to note differences in the presenting complaints of men and women and freshmen and seniors. Five major complaint categories emerged for all groups: affective, interpersonal, academic, self-adequacy, and somatic concerns. Although there was neither sex nor college year difference in the mean number of total complaints, female students scored significantly more interpersonal and self-adequacy complaints. Seniors reported considerably more somatic concerns than freshmen. Of female freshmen, 40% had at least some contact with psychotherapy before coming to college, while this was the case with only 16% of male freshmen. Negative feelings fostered before coming to college about their role as women in our society are postulated as crucial to both the rate of usage of facilities and the nature of problems presented.