Characteristics and Risk Factors for Negative Academic Events: A 27-Year Serial Prevalence Study of 9.7 Million Japanese College Students

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Objective: To examine the prevalence of and the factors contributing to leaves of absence and school discontinuation in Japanese college students over a 27-year period. Trends in these academic events over time were assessed, and students at elevated risk and psychosocial difficulties in need of supportive intervention were identified.

Methods: Surveys were collected from the majority of Japanese national universities between 1985 and 2012, yielding data on a total of 9.7 million Japanese university students. Each year, data collected included the number of students enrolled at a university and the number of students who discontinued school and took leaves of absence. The reasons for these academic events were also collected in the surveys.

Results: We found that instances of these academic events have become prevalent over the past decades among Japanese university students. The rates of leaves of absence and school discontinuation for men were consistently higher than that for women throughout the study. Negative reasons such as apathetic state were the dominant reason for these academic events. Males, especially in 4-year programs (liberal arts and sciences), were more likely to have negative events due to negative reasons such as apathetic state. These students were not diagnosed psychiatrically.

Conclusion: The population of students at elevated risk should receive psychosocial interventions and be provided mental health support.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2017;19(4):17m02123

https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.17m02123