– Sami Lama, Penamma Ranadive, Triza Jiwan

Abstract : Mental Health may be defined as the adjustment of individuals to themselves and the world at large with a maximum of effectiveness, satisfaction, cheerfulness and socially considerate behaviour and the ability of facing and accepting the realities of life.Today youth with mental health problems is not only losing all vitality but also posing a great threat to future generation. The present study was undertaken to assess the mental health/mental health problems among 120 students studying in 10+1 and 10 +2. The students were selected by the systematic random sampling technique. It was observed that college students suffer more from mental health problems as compared to school students.

Key Words :

Mental health, emotional problems, motiva- tional problem, adolescents, students

Correspondence at : Sami Lama,

Faculty, College of Nursing, BPKIHS.


“A sound mind in a sound body” has been recognized as a social ideal for many centuries. Health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well – being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Mental health is thus the balanced development of the individual’s personality and emotional attitudes which enable him to live harmoniously with his fellowmen and community1.

The mentally healthy student accepts himself with his strong points and his shortcomings. If the positive factors in his personality are accentuated; the weakness in most cases will retreat from the foreground. The emotionally healthy student reaches a balance between his instincts and his conscience; coupled with demand of his environment. He has ability to make adjustment, can remain unhampered by emotional conflict, has a philosophy of living and can confirm to and follow that philosophy, finds satisfaction and fulfillment in exercising and expanding his potential, can establish and maintain a meaningful relationship with others2.

Mental health problem is a mal- adjustment in living. It produces a disharmony in the person’s ability to comfortably or effectively meet human needs and function within a culture. Man has learned much about controlling the physical world but seems to be awfully inadequate in ways of happy living. The incidence and prevalence of mental health problems force us to recognize mental ill health as a problem of prime importance3. According to WHO (1993) approximately 20.6% of the total population of 846 millions in India consists of youth between 15 – 24 years of age. In 1981, the youth population was approximately 125 million, in 1991, about 171 million and by 2001, it was about 198 million. College students form the cream of student population. Many more students may have emotional problems related to their family and college life. If the mental health of youth is neglected, various problems may arise, that can be broadly put under 3 categories i.e. emotional problems, motivational problems and moral problems4.

Adolescence is the most confusing, challenging, frustrating and fascinating phase of human development. Adolescence plays a profoundly significant role in the life of the individual and in society as a whole. High attrition rates in college students and academic under achievement can be related to emotional factors, through the cause for it can be multifunctional. Cost effectiveness of inputs from governmental and other agencies for the development and welfare of young person therefore depends on minimizing attrition rates ensuring better academic achievement and meaningful contribution to the society5.

Materials and Methods

The study was conducted in Arya College for boys and girls, Sargodha girl’s school, Sargodha National Public School and Jain public school Ludhiana. All the schools are affiliated to Punjab School Education board and the colleges to Punjab University. None of the school/colleges have the guidance and counseling facility for the students.

The target population consisted of all the 10+1 and 10+2 school and college students studying in these colleges and schools. Total 120 students, 60 from each school and college were selected by the systematic random sampling technique for the study.

The research tool developed by the researcher was a structured questionnaire. The instrument consisted of 2 parts. Part – I consisted of personal data seeking the information of students and part II consisted of items related to mental health and mental health problems. Fur ther mental health problems scale was divided into 3 subsections i.e. emotional problems (16 items; which include anxiety, impulsiveness, moodiness, immaturity, with drawl; max score – 80, min score – 16), motivational problems (14 items; which include lack of ambition, low aspiration level, feeling of frustration, negative attitude and lack of interest ;max. Score – 70, min score – 14) and moral problems (16 items; which include feeling of guilt, sense of being lost, confused idea of right and wrong, lying, stealing unruly behavior; max. score – 80, min. score – 16).

Each item has five responses and five point scales is used for scoring. Mental health problems findings were interpreted by negative scoring. Validity and reliability of the tool was established by conducting a pilot on 10 students from school and 10 from college to ensure the reliability and feasibility of the study. The time taken by each subject was on an average of 30 – 45 minutes. Prior to data collection, formal permission was obtained from the Principal and explained the purpose of study to Principal and class teachers as well. The students were explained about the importance and the nature of the study. Their consent was obtained and they were assured of the confidentiality for their responses. Data was collected in the month of January to February 1999. The data analysis was done by calculating the percentage, mean, SD, correlation, coefficient and student’s ‘t’ test.


Out of 60 student in both college and school number of male and females were equal. The two third of subjects were from 17 – 18 years of age group (66.7%) in colleges, whiile in shcools the two age groups of 15-16 and 17-19, were represented by equal number of students. In the colleges, most of the students were Hindu (96.6%), majority of the students’ birth order was first and 50% of students fall in the family income group of Rs 5, 000 – 10,000/month. Majority of students (71.6%) were from nuclear family. In schools less than half of the students (43.3%) fall in the family income group of RS 5,000 – 10,000 and 55% students were from nuclear family (Table -1).

Amongst the college student 70% had positive mental health and 3.3% were highly positive. Where as among school students positive health had been observed in 71.6% and highly positive in 16.6% of total students (Table – 2). Despite of positive toward mental health, college and school students do not differ in mental health problems irrespective of their study place. Mean score of college and school students was 146.2 & 150.68 respectively out of a maximum score of 230 (Table – 3)

Table – I : Socio demographic profile of subjects.

Socio demographical Characteristics Distribution of Subjects
College Students n(%) School Students n(%)
a. Male 30 (50.0) 30 (50.0)
b. Female 30 (50.0) 30 (50.0)
Age in Years    
a. 15 – 16 20 (33.3) 30 (50.0)
b. 17 – 18 40 (66.7) 30 (50.0)
a. Hindu 58 (96.6) 21 (35.0)
b. Sikh 2 (03.4) 37 (61.6)
c. Christian -— 2 (03.4)
Birth Order    
a. First 31 (51.7) 23 (38.3)
b. Second 20 (33.3) 19 (31.5)
c. Third 6 (10.0) 10 (16.6)
d. Any other 3 (05.0) 8 (13.6)
Family Income    
a. High (>10,000) 10 (16.6) 24 (40.0)
b. Medium (5,000 – 10,000) 30 (50.0) 26 (43.4)
c. Lower (<5,000) 20 (33.4) 10 (16.6)
Type of Family    
a. Nuclear 43 (71.7) 33 (55.0)
b. Joint 17 (28.3) 27 (45.0)

Amongst the college students 70% had positive mental health and 3.3% were highly positive. Where as among school students positive health had been observed in 71.6% and highly positive in 16.6% of total students (Table – 2). Despite of positive toward mental health, college and school students do not differ in mental health problems irrespective of their study place. (Mean score of college & school students 146.2 & 150.68 respectively) (Table – 3)

Table – 2 : Comparison of mental health level among college and school students N=120


Characteristics Mental health level
College n (%) School n (%)
< 60 (< average)
61 – 80 (Average) 16 (26.6) 07 (11.6)
81 – 100 (Positive) 42 (70.0 43 (71.6)
> 100 ( highly positive) 02 (03.3) 10 (16.6)

Table – 3 : Mean score of mental health problems among college and school students

N = 120





Mental health problems score




College 146.2 ± 20.49 1.09 at 118 df
School 150.68 ± 24.37 NS


Amongst the problem areas moral problems as compared to emotional and motivational problem. About half (55%) of the college students had emotional problems, whereas in school only 38.3% had fallen under this category followed by motivational problems among the college and school students were 55% and 43.3% respectively and mean score 43.10 and 44.13 respectively. (Table – 4)

Moral problems were also observed among both the group i.e. mean score of college and school students were 57.03 and 58.62 respectively. Hence the school students have shown higher moral problem than the college students and it was found statistically significant at P<0.05. (Table – 5)

\Table – 4 : Mental health problems level among college & school students







Mental health problems level among students
College n(%) School n(%)
Emotional 80 <35(highly +ve) 06 (10.0) 08 (13.3)
    36 – 50 (+ve) 33 (55.0) 23 (38.3)
    51 – 65(< average) 20 (33.3) 26 (43.3)
    >60(average) 01 (01.6) 03 (05.0)
Motivational 70 <30(highly +ve) 03 (05.0) 07 (11.6)
    31 – 45 (+ve) 33 (55.0) 26 (43.3)
    46 – 60 (< average) 23 (38.3) 24 (40.0)
    > 60 (average) 01 (01.6) 03 (05.0)
Moral 80 < 35(highly +M) 01 (01.7)
    36 – 45 (+ve) 08 (13.3) 05 (08.3)
    51– 65 (< average) 45 (75.0) 43 (71.7)
    > 65 (average) 07 (11.7) 11 (18.3)


Table – 5 : Mean score of emotional, motivational and moral problems among college and school students   N = 120


Problem Max


College School ‘t’
Mean ± SD mean ± SD
Emotional 80 46.06 ± 8.84 47.93 ± 10.58


1.04 at 118 df
Motivational 70 43.10 ± 8.34 44.13 ± 10.38


0.60 at 118 df
Moral 80 57.03 ± 6.81 58.62 ± 7.52


1.22*at 118 df

NS – Not significant; *Significant at p<0.05

Male students had more emotional and motivational problems than female students among both the groups. Where as moral problems were more among female students in both the groups (Table – 6)

Table – 6 : Gender wise distribution of mean score of mental health problems among the college and school students                                                                                                                     N=120, df=58





Max Score Mental health problems score  



College School
n Mean SD n Mean SD
Emotional 80              
a.Male   30 49.37 6.38 30 49.83 7.44 NS
b.Female   30 42.99 9.78 30 46.03 12.84 NS
Motivational 70              
a. Male   30 46.10 6.72 30 44.50 7.44 NS
b. Female   30 40.10 8.90 30 43.76 12.51 NS
a. Male 80 30 55.77 7.02 30 57.00 7.74 NS
b. Female   30 58.30 6.46 30 60.23 7.06 NS
  • NS – Not significant; *significant at p<0.05



Mental health aspect of school students is significantly better than that of the college students (p<0.05). Further findings also support this as the mental health mean score obtained by the college students is lower than the school students. So the mental health problems are more among the college students. These findings are in accordance with the study conducted by Sandepudi (1984). It was reported that majority of school going adolescents were healthy and their self concept was significantly related to mental health6.

College students suffered more with emotional and moral problems. Rao and Begum (1994) also reported that about 10 – 30% college students have been suffering from emotional problems and nearly 30% students leave college without completing their studies. College students of age group 15 -16 years experience more problems, than school students of same age group, whereas elder students of school (i.e. 17 -18 years) have more problems related to motivational and moral. Literature supports that adolescent in age group of 17 -18 have more psychiatric problems than at the earlier years of life7.

Emotional and motivational problems means scores of was lower in female students whereas of mean scores of moral problem was found to be lower in male students of both groups when compared with other study, it was also found girls were less confident of themselves7. First and second born students of both the groups suffer from more numbers of mental health problems. Within the college group emotional and moral problems are found to be statistically significant. Literature revealed that the birth order had a significant association with mental health of adolescents 9, 10.

“A healthy child builds a healthy nation”, it is thus obvious that youth is not only an important section of the community but also an asset and the future hope of the society. So if the mental health of youth is neglected various problems may arise, which may affect in efficient functioning in any sphere of life and activity. So there is extreme need for the counselling and other health related services for the adolescents to enhance their mental health.


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