Author(s): RM Chand, AM Pidgeon.

Psychological distress increases university students’ risk of developing mental health disorders, such as depression. The current study aims to examine the role of resilience, social connectedness an d social support in predicting psychological distress among Australian university students. In addition, the current study will also examine the prevalence rates of psychological distress reported by Australian university students across year levels and compare the prevalence to an Australian community population. Online survey data was collected from 94 Australian university students and 143 Australian community participants. Data was analysed using Independent-Samples t-Tests, an analysis of variance, a hierarchical multiple regression and a mediation analysis. Results showed no significant differences in prevalence rates of psychological distress between Australian university students and Australian community participants. Prevalence rates of psychological distress were not different across year levels of study among Australian university participants. Analyses of predictors found social connectedness was the strongest predictor of psychological distress even when social support was found to mediate the relationship. Limitations of the current study such as sample characteristics and generalisability concerns were identified. Implications of the current findings for the development of prevention and intervention programs and future research are discussed.