Assessing the mental health of medical students

Thomas Dalton


Over the past years there has been a growing interest in investigating and studying the levels and causes of anxiety, depression and psychological deficits among medical students. Although there are numerous studies, there does not appear to be a comparative review of the reported results.

To identify key stressors for medical students and investigate if there are any significant events that are more likely to evoke a stressful response. Also, to investigate if there are any groups of medical students, more prone to be negatively affected.

This was a Retrospective Cohort Study, analysing data that was collected from students in a wide range of medical schools.

Medical students are far more significantly affected by perceived stress than other university students; there are specific events in their course of study and lifestyle that have been identified as likely triggering events.

All medical students are at significantly higher risk of perceived stress, depression, anxiety, suicide ideation and risk of depression and psychological distress.

Specific gender and ethnic groups appear to be in the higher risk groups, as well as specific stressors, that would appear to be the main contributors to these mental health problems. If universities and medical schools consider these key points, they should be able to plan processes to develop greater resiliency in their students.
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