Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Sharon Lock

Clinical Mentor

Dr. Lori Molenaar

Committee Member

Dr. Mollie Aleshire


Mental disorders, including depression, are increasing in frequency and intensity in the college student population. College-aged women appear to be particularly vulnerable to depression. Primary care providers play an important role in addressing this issue, as they are the principal health care contacts for more than 50% of patients with mental illnesses. Guidelines from the 2009 United States Preventative Services Task Force recommend screening all adults (age 18+) for depression in primary care when depression care supports are in place. However, current screening rates for depression in the primary care setting from are estimated at only 1.6 to 3.3% (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2012a). This capstone report presents three manuscripts which focus on depression screening practices for college women in the primary care setting. The first manuscript presents a literature review pertaining to depression in college women, including risk factors for depression, consequences of depression, and depression screening practices in this population. The second manuscript presents a critical analysis of the United States Preventative Services Task Force’s guideline recommendations for screening for depression in adults in primary care, using a modified version of the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) Instrument (2001). The literature obtained from these first two manuscripts led to a descriptive study, which examined depression screening practices and barriers at a primary care university health clinic in the southeastern United States. The third and final manuscript details this study, and presents practical implications for improving depression screening rates in this at-risk population.