Depression among Polish medical students and its lifestyle-linked predictors
Keywordsdepression, medical students
Introduction and objective. Depression is a common mental disorder that affects over 264 million people worldwide. Medical students are at a particularly high risk of this disease. The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence of depression among Polish medical students and to determine predictors of this disease that are related to student’s lifestyle. Material and method. A total of 1023 medical students took part in the study. The research tool included a Polish version of the PHQ-9 questionnaire and author’s questions which concerned sociodemographic characteristics of the investigated group and analyzed factors. Answers were collected in the April of 2020. Results. About a half of the students (51.61%, 95% CI: 48.50 – 54.72) were found to have major depression (PHQ score ≥ 10). 30.21% of the students had mild depressive symptoms, 26.00% – moderate depressive symptoms and 15.05% – moderately severe depressive symptoms. 10.56% of the participants had symptoms of severe depression. A statistically significant relationship was found between major depression and: frequent feelings of loneliness, not doing sports regularly, not getting enough sleep, not participating in social meetings often enough, having problems with maintaining stable body weight, using alcohol in order to relieve stress or negative emotions and being non-religious. Conclusions. Depression among medical students in Poland is common. There are many lifestyle-linked predictors which are associated with this disease in the above-mentioned group. It is crucial to take actions aimed at reducing the high prevalence rates of depression among medical students in Poland, such as introducing routine screening for depression and creating resources that would enable students to obtain help.
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