Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Mary Lou Gutierrez


Minority college students experience higher levels of psychological stress and depression, and lower utilization of mental health resources (MHR) compared to the general student population. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the association between self-reported depressive symptoms and awareness of mental health services among college undergraduate minority and non-minority students, controlling for sex, interest in MHR information, and history of mental illness. The self-determination theory guided the study. The study utilized a cross-sectional research design using secondary survey data from the National College Health Assessment (NCHA). The NCHA dataset included 354,262 respondents from 52 self-selected U.S. colleges and universities. Descriptive statistics indicated that 58.5% of students reported symptoms for depression and 20.6% reported receiving no information on MHR from their institution. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to examine minority status and presence of depressive symptoms as predictors of awareness of MHR, controlling for the covariates. The association between presence of depressive symptoms and awareness of MHR was statistically significant (p>.01), with respondents reporting depressive symptoms more likely to report a lower level of awareness (β=.847, .796, .882). The association between minority status and awareness of MHR was significant, but not consistently higher or lower than the referent level. The social change implications from this study may include benefits to both minority and non-minority college students, parents, administrators, and mental health professionals interested in increasing awareness of MHR.