Depression, Anxiety and Stress among Female College Students in Delhi having Normal and Disordered Eating Behaviours

Shipra Gupta, Deeksha Kapur


Background: Disordered eating behaviour is an emerging problem among young Indian females who undergo multiple changes during early adulthood. It may pose serious health consequences for these young women in their reproductive age. Psychological factors such as depression, anxiety and stress are likely to influence the eating practices of young females and predispose them to disordered eating behaviour.

Objectives: The study was conducted to determine the prevalence and severity of depression, anxiety and stress among female college students in Delhi having normal and disordered eating behaviours.

Materials and Methods: A total of 734 female undergraduate college students from University of Delhi comprised the study sample. An adapted Eating Attitudes Test (EAT)-26 was used to identify subjects having disordered eating behaviour and Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS)-21 was used to assess the occurrence and severity of depression, anxiety and stress among them.

Results: Findings revealed that prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress, ranging from mild to extremely severe forms, among the subjects was 46.6%, 63.8% and 43.1% respectively. Scores on stress, anxiety and depression subscales for subjects having disordered eating behaviour were significantly higher than those having normal eating behaviour and with regard to severity of depression, anxiety and stress, significant differences were found between the subjects. Significant positive correlations between EAT-26 scores of subjects and their scores on depression, anxiety and stress subscales were also found.

Conclusion: The study indicated that prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress was substantial among the female college students in Delhi and played an important role in the occurrence of disordered eating behaviour among them. Suitable interventions for alleviating depression, anxiety and stress among young females need to be promoted to prevent disordered eating behaviour among them.


Anxiety, Depression, Disordered eating behaviour, Female college students, Stress

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