Behavioral Cues for Identifying Potential Crisis


Warning Signs often seen in College Students


Sudden or gradual withdrawal from social contacts

Significant change in lifestyle (e.g., increased use of substances and/or self-medication, sexual and/or relational promiscuity, global change of friendships and support network)

Loss of appetite which endures more than few days

Poor concentration on tasks fundamental to successful daily life or achieving goals

Generalized sadness and/or free floating anger

World view and future generally framed in hopeless terms

Abdicates responsibilities and commitments

Appears excessively anxious

Sleeps a lot or has difficulty getting sleep

Excessively critical of self or others

Increased dependency and uncertainty in decision making

Precipitating Events likely to occur to College Students


Failure to meet expectations of self or others (e.g., grades, choice of majors, rejection from organizations, poor performance)

Death of intimate or family member

Uncertainty about future (e.g., post graduation plans, need to declare an academic major, finances)

Victim of violence, physical injury, or chronic illness

Rejection by intimate or decision to dissolve relationship (e.g., long distance, transition, or established relationships)


Wayne D. Griffin, Ph.D. 02/23/01