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Public Health. 2016 Mar;132:92-100. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2015.12.014. Epub 2016 Feb 12.

Mental health among currently enrolled medical students in Germany.

Author information

1
Institute of Occupational Medicine and Social Medicine, Centre of Health and Society (CHS), Faculty of Medicine, University of Duesseldorf, Germany. Electronic address: natalia.wege@uni-duesseldorf.de.
2
Institute of Occupational Medicine and Social Medicine, Centre of Health and Society (CHS), Faculty of Medicine, University of Duesseldorf, Germany.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The study identifies the prevalence of common mental disorders according to the patient health questionnaire (PHQ) and the use of psychotropic substances in a sample of currently enrolled medical students.

STUDY DESIGN:

A cross-sectional survey with a self-administrated questionnaire.

METHODS:

All newly enrolled medical students at the University of Dusseldorf, with study beginning either in 2012 or 2013, respectively, were invited to participate. The evaluation was based on 590 completed questionnaires. Mental health outcomes were measured by the PHQ, including major depression, other depressive symptoms (subthreshold depression), anxiety, panic disorders and psychosomatic complaints. Moreover, information about psychotropic substances use (including medication) was obtained. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to estimate associations between sociodemographic and socio-economic factors and mental health outcomes.

RESULTS:

The prevalence rates, measured by the PHQ, were 4.7% for major depression, 5.8% for other depressive symptoms, 4.4% for anxiety, 1.9% for panic disorders, and 15.7% for psychosomatic complaints. These prevalence rates were higher than those reported in the general population, but lower than in medical students in the course of medical training. In all, 10.7% of the students reported regular psychotropic substance use: 5.1% of students used medication 'to calm down,' 4.6% 'to improve their sleep,' 4.4% 'to elevate mood,' and 3.1% 'to improve cognitive performance.' In the fully adjusted model, expected financial difficulties were significantly associated with poor mental health (odds ratio [OR]: 2.14; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.31-3.48), psychosomatic symptoms (OR:1.85; 95% CI: 1.11-3.09) and psychotropic substances use (OR: 2.68; 95% CI: 1.51-4.75).

CONCLUSION:

The high rates of mental disorders among currently enrolled medical students call for the promotion of mental health, with a special emphasis on vulnerable groups.

KEYWORDS:

Common mental disorders; Medical students; Psychotropic medication; Somatisation

PMID:
26880490
DOI:
10.1016/j.puhe.2015.12.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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