Presence of depressive symptoms in medical students in a Mexican public university

Marco Antonio Tadeo-Álvarez, Claudia Daniela Munguía-Ortíz, Valeria Benítez-López, Ana María Valles-Medina, Guadalupe Delgadillo-Ramos, Paola Michelle Flores-Castillo, Marcela Romo-Guardado

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17711/SM.0185-3325.2019.017

Abstract


Introduction. During their professional training, medical students are subject to diverse stress-causing factors such as academic demands and a highly competitive environment which may threaten their mental health.

Objective. Identify the presence of depressive symptoms in medical students in a public university in Mexico.

Method. Descriptive cross-sectional study of a random sample of 203 medical students at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California from February to April 2018. The PHQ - 9 scale was used, and a cut-off score of ≥ 10 was employed as positive for depressive symptoms. Basic descriptive statistics were utilized to analyze sociodemographic variables such as gender, academic advancement, stage of training (basic science vs. clinical), and the prevalence of the five different categories of the scale.

Results. Of the medical students surveyed, 20.2% were found positive for depressive symptoms and 7.9% (16) had severe or moderately severe symptoms. Female gender increased the risk of presenting symptoms (OR = 3.5, 95% CI [1.6, 7.6]).

Discussion. Despite the fact that the prevalence of depressive symptoms encountered was similar to that reported worldwide, it is troubling that one fifth of the surveyed students presented depressive symptoms. These results may justify implementation of preventive strategies by academic authorities to improve student mental health, and maybe even for early detection of risk of major depressive disorder.

Keywords


Medical students; depression; depressive symptoms

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References


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