n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Depressive symptoms among emerging adults attending a general outpatient department in Kenya

Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


Suicide is a global health concern, specifically among emerging adults. Bio-psychosocial factors, specifically depression, are associated with suicide behaviour and viewed as potential risk indicators. Depression, under detected in general health care settings, arguably adds to the increasing incidence of suicide behaviour. This study describes the incidence of physiological symptoms commonly specified as indicative of depression, and actual depressive symptoms, within an emerging adult population attending a general health care outpatient facility in Kenya. Aquantitative study approach utilized an interview assisted physiological symptom checklist to identify the potential sample, and a self-report questionnaire to obtain participant scores based on responses to Becks Depression Inventory Scale vs. II (BDI II). Results, categorised according to the BDI II depression score, indicated that the majority of the participants (n=51, 60.7%) were experiencing the 'normal ups and downs of daily life'. There was a low incidence of 'mild mood disturbance' (n=17, 20.2%), 'borderline clinical depression' (n=7, 8.3%), and 'moderate depression' (n=10, 11.9%). There was no incidence of severe depression within the participant group. Participants, who achieved a BDI II score of eleven and above, selection of physiological symptom/s confirmed common specified physiological symptoms suggestive of depression to the extent that they appear in current literature. However, an increasing total of presenting physiological symptoms by individual participants were not as strongly predictive of depression as the single physiological symptom of pain, specifically headache. Associations of BDI II scores and demographic data suggested trends between depressive symptoms and a 20/21 age group, cohabiting with partner, university graduate, and employed. Screening for depression within general health care facilities is argued to be relevant and recommended. Specifically, physiological symptoms, such as pain, should be recognized as potential indicators of depression, or risk for development of depression.

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