Salud Mental

An assessment of mental health of Mexican and Colombian medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic


D. Xipe Pacheco-Tobón
Edgar Bautista-Soto
Claudia Arellano-Ramírez
Daniela Orozco-García
Lucia Ramos-Ruiz
Eliana Herbales-Martinez
Leonardo M. Porchia
Ricardo Pérez-Fuentes
M. Elba Gonzalez-Mejia


Introduction. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the cessation of academic activities from the face-to-face format to confinement and virtual classes, in which little is studied about its effect on mental health.

Objective. Determine levels of depression, anxiety, and stress in medical students in Mexico and Colombia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, depression, anxiety, and stress were compared by gender, education status, and country.

Method. A cross-sectional study was carried out with 426 medical students. Data was collected using an online survey containing the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (DASS-21) questionnaire.

Results. Overall scores for depression, anxiety, and stress were 6.7 ± 1.2, 8.8 ± 1.2, and 5.6 ± 1.2, respectively. Females had significantly higher overall scores for depression (.24-fold increase), anxiety (.25-fold increase), and stress (.40-fold increase) than males (p ≤ .01). The risk for anxiety and stress by school year showed that basic years were associated with higher scores than advanced years (.25 and .38-fold increase, respectively). For females, starting medical school did show an increased risk of depression when compared to male students in their basic years (.38-fold increase). Lastly, students from Mexico had an increased risk for depression and anxiety (p ≤ .022 and p ≤ .004, respectively) but not for stress (p ≤ .402), when compared to students from Colombia.

Discussion and conclusion. Significant anxiety and depression were observed in medical students from Mexico and Colombia. Factors associated with an increased risk of depression and anxiety are students in their basic years as well as being female.
COVID-19, México, Colombia, DASS-21, depression, anxiety, stress


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