Journal article

Mental health markers and protective factors in students with symptoms of physical pain across WEIRD and non-WEIRD samples – a network analysis


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  • 2024
Published in:
  • BMC Psychiatry. - Springer Science and Business Media LLC. - 2024, vol. 24, no. 318, p. 1-11
English Background: Studies conducted in Western societies have identified variables associated with chronic pain, but few
have done so across cultures. Our study aimed to clarify the relationship between specific mental health markers (i.e.,
depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], perceived stress) as well as specific protective factors (i.e.,
social support and self-efficacy) related to physical pain among university students across non-WEIRD and WEIRD
Method: A total of 188 university students (131 women and 57 men) were included in the study. We used network
analysis to ascertain mental health markers especially central to the experience of physical pain.
Results No statistically significant difference was found between mental health markers (i.e., depression, anxiety,
perceived stress, and PTSD) and protective factors (i.e., social support and self-efficacy) associated with physical pain
symptoms for Swiss students versus Indian students (M = 0.325, p = .11). In addition, networks for Swiss versus Indian
students did not differ in global strength (S = 0.29, p = .803). Anxiety was the most central mental health marker,
and social support was the most important protective factor related to physical pain in both countries. However,
for Swiss students, perceived stress, and for Indian students, PTSD symptoms were central mental health markers
related to physical pain.
Conclusion: Our results identify factors that may serve as important
Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines
Département de Psychologie
  • English
Open access status
Persistent URL

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