Depression Management as Lifestyle Management: Exploring Existing Practices and Perceptions Among College Students

  • Jordan DodsonEmail author
  • Naika Saint Preux
  • Jenni Thang
  • Elizabeth V. Eikey
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12051)


Research is limited on college students’ existing approaches to managing depression, which are important to understand before designing and recommending non-digital and digital tools. We conducted a mixed methods survey with 109 college students about their awareness of and interest in non-digital and digital tools, what tools they use, how they use them, and their perceived effectiveness. In general, students are aware of and interested in both non-digital and digital tools. Therefore, we cannot discount the utility of both non-digital and digital tools, even among high technology users. We found 78 participants use non-digital tools, such as paper, art, and checklists, and 80 participants reported using digital tools, such as social media, texts, and YouTube/vlogging. From students’ perspectives, depression management is lifestyle management. Thus, they often use a combination of tools for connection and support, catharsis and outlet, keeping busy and distraction, organization and planning, and emotion and thought analysis and regulation, and they perceive these tools to be at least somewhat effective in managing their depression. This research emphasizes the need to understand current practices and perceptions and can be used as a foundation for other researchers, clinicians, and educators as they continue to find ways to support college students with depression.


Depression Self-monitoring Non-digital and digital tools College students Mental health 



We would like to thank iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) Director Dr. Kayla Booth, i3 Assistant Director and our research advisor Dr. Elizabeth Eikey, and Michael Depew, as well as the 2017, 2018, and 2019 cohorts. This work was supported by the National Center for Research Resources, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and the NIH (UL1 TR001414). It is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jordan Dodson
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Naika Saint Preux
    • 2
    • 5
  • Jenni Thang
    • 3
    • 5
  • Elizabeth V. Eikey
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.The University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.The College of WestchesterWhite PlainsUSA
  3. 3.Indiana University BloomingtonBloomingtonUSA
  4. 4.University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  5. 5.The iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3)PittsburghUSA

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