Mental Health of the University students in India and Switzerland

Auteur Tanya TANDON
Directeur /trice Chantal MARTIN SOELCH
Co-directeur(s) /trice(s)
Résumé de la thèse

University students are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems, while physical pain has become a major health issue in this population. Around 54% of university students report physical pain each year worldwide; in India, the proportion ranges from 29−81%. Previous studies evidenced that physical pain leads to lower quality of life, lower academic performance, and reduced general work productivity. It also impairs the reward processes and the motivation to obtain a reward, which weakens academic performance. Studies of people with chronic pain conditions identified mental health markers such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, and stress as additional risk factors, whereas protective factors like selfefficacy and social support diminish the pain experienced. Would these interactions between physical pain and mental health, and more specifically between physical pain and reward processing, be the same in a sub-clinical population of university students? And would they vary according to the cultural context ? To address these questions, this dissertation explores the frequency of physical pain symptoms in subclinical populations of university students in both Switzerland and India. Research on this subject has been conducted in European countries and the United States, but rarely in Southeast Asia. We hope to yield new insights to suggest that changes in the reward-pain interaction can be identified in the subclinical population and therefore provide information about the effect of pain on the processing of reward, avoiding the limitations induced by medication and treatments. We also hope to evidence the relationship between specific mental health markers (i.e., depression, anxiety, PTSD symptoms, perceived stress), specific protective factors (i.e., social support and self-efficacy), and physical pain among university students in two different cultures, using network analysis. Our results show a significant correlation between mood responses and monetary wins (amount won) in the Swiss control group (students without physical pain symptoms); this was not observed in the sub-clinical group (students with physical pain symptoms). Interestingly, in India, there was no significant correlation between mood ratings and monetary wins, in either of the two groups. We found no significant difference in the association between mental health markers and protective factors related to physical pain in the two countries. In Switzerland and India PTSD, symptoms are prominent. In summary, our results suggest that pain-related impairment can also be observed in a sub-clinical population. However, this might not be a universal phenomenon. It can vary across different cultures. Our results indicate that mental health markers are similar in both countries, and these mental health markers and protective factors are related to the high frequency of physical pain symptoms among students in both countries. Therefore, designing an intervention, keeping in mind the mental health markers and protective factors, might lead to the reduction of physical pain symptoms in India and Switzerland.


Statut terminé
Délai administratif de soutenance de thèse 2023