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Hunt J, Eisenberg D, Kilbourne AM. Consequences of receipt of a psychiatric diagnosis for completion of college. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.). 2010 Apr 1; 61(4):399-404.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the independent associations between DSM-IV psychiatric disorders and the failure to complete college among college entrants. METHODS: Data were from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). The sample included 15,800 adults, aged 22 years and older, who at least entered college. Diagnoses were made with the NESARC survey instrument, the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disability Interview Schedule-DSM-IV Version. The large sample permitted analysis of multiple psychiatric disorders in the same multivariable logistic regression models. Given the frequent comorbidity of these disorders, this approach is an important step toward disentangling the independent roles of disorders in postsecondary educational outcomes. RESULTS: Evaluation of the independent associations between specific psychiatric disorders and postsecondary educational attainment showed that five diagnoses were positively and significantly associated with the failure to graduate from college. Four were axis I diagnoses: bipolar I disorder, marijuana use disorder, amphetamine use disorder, and cocaine use disorder. One was an axis II diagnosis: antisocial personality disorder. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides new data on DSM-IV diagnoses associated with the failure to complete postsecondary education. The findings suggest that psychiatric factors play a significant role in college academic performance, and the benefits of prevention, detection, and treatment of psychiatric illness may therefore include higher college graduation rates.