Depression, anxiety and stress among first year medical students in an Egyptian public university
Authors: Ayat R. Abdallah and Hala M. Gabr
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Medical students repeatedly experience different stresses which render them more vulnerable to psychological problems that may affect their emotional, psychosocial and physical health. This study has been conducted to determine the prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress among first year medical students at Menoufiya University and to identify their associated factors. This was a cross-sectional study where two self administered questionnaires have been used, the first is a structured one for identifying demographic characteristics and risk factors of psychological illness among 1st year medical students, and the second is the Arabic version of Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS21). The participation rate was 90%. The mean age of participants was 18.02 ± 0.26 years, and more than half (52%) were females. The prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress among students was 63.6, 78.4 and 57.8%, respectively. Symptoms of moderate severity were the predominant among students with the studied psychological illnesses. Multiple social, demographic, behavioral and educational factors have been significantly (p < 0.05) associated with most of the studied psychological illnesses, including: gender, residence, perceived socioeconomic standard, feeling loneliness, the inability to share in families' social activities, presence of insomnia and chronic physical illnesses, studying in English language, problems with exams' criteria, lack of communication with staff members, and the organization of lectures' timetable. In conclusion, a substantial proportion of first year medical students had ongoing psychiatric problems that were associated with multiple social, demographic, behavioral, and educational factors. Interventions addressing the mental health of medical students should be initiated.
Keywords: Depression, anxiety, stress, medical students, medical education, Egypt.