Psychosocial problems and development of psychopathology among Ugandan university students

2014 IJRSP – Volume 3 Issue 3


Nsereko, Norman David*
Nkumba University, Uganda (

Musisi, Seggane
Makerere University, Uganda (

Nakigudde, Janet
Makerere University, Uganda (

Ssekiwu, Denis
Muteesa 1 Royal University, Uganda (


The impact of psychosocial problems on the development of psychopathology (depression/anxiety) among university students is an area that greatly remains unexplored leading to insufficient assessment of the mental health status of the students. Consequently, students’ psychosocial problems and psychopathology if left untreated and unchecked, they may severely interfere in their everyday functioning and manifest compromised social cohesion, mental health and wellbeing, with the increased likelihood of future instability and conflict. The aim of the study was to address a broader understanding of a multidimensional aspect of psychosocial problems to the development of psychopathology (anxiety, depression) for university students in Uganda. It was hypothesized that there is no relationship between exposure to psychosocial problems and the development of psychopathology. This cross-sectional study was a secondary analysis of data from the PhD study on development and validation of an instrument to measure psychosocial problems of university students. The University Students Evaluation of Psychosocial Problems (USEPP) instrument was used to evaluate psychosocial problems. The two symptoms of psychopathology denoting common mental disorders were measured using the Hopkins Symptom Checklist 10 (HSCL-10). Regression analysis was performed to establish the relationship between psychosocial problems and psychopathology. The findings of this study revealed that students having psychosocial problems were significantly related to the development of psychopathology. The findings highlight to the need to put intervention measures to address the students’ psychosocial problems and mental health disorders by putting counselling infrastructure in institutions of learning to address the mental health needs of the students.

Keywords: mental health; university students; counselling services



*Corresponding Author