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J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2016 Oct-Dec;7(4):493-498.

Longitudinal assessment of depression, stress, and burnout in medical students.

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Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
Department of Community Medicine, Grant Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India.



Medical students can and do suffer from mental disorders is a concept yet to get wide acceptance. There are few studies comprehensively evaluating depression, stress, and burnout in medical students, especially in a longitudinal way in India. The current study aims to assess the impact of medical education on the development of psychological morbidities and the role of personality.


First-year medical students of a leading medical college of India were enrolled on admission and given anonymized, validated, self-administered questionnaires assessing depression, stress, burnout, and personality. This was repeated at the end of 1st year. Data were analyzed independently as questionnaires were anonymized.


We found that 1st year of medical college showed a significantly increasing depression (P < 0.01) and stress (P < 0.01). Overall burnout did not increase significantly. However, only disengagement dimension of burnout increased significantly. Personalities with weak capacity to adjust had a significant positive correlation with depression (r = 0.277, P < 0.001) and stress scores (r = 0.210, P = 0.008). However, burnout did not correlate with any of the personality dimensions.


Right from the 1st year of medical education students perceive high-stress levels and have a high risk of depression. Burnout starts to creep in at least in the form of disengagement. This study provides a sound groundwork for planning interventions to reduce student's mental morbidity and avoid burnout.


Burnout; depression; medical students; stress

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