Is Going To Medical School Depressing?

Depression: Yes, for many of us.  Researchers surveyed more than 3,000 medical students in year 1 and year 4 with surveys including validated scales for depression, stress, coping methods, and social support.  Predictors of depression in year 4 were found via multivariate analysis and a predictive score was developed.  Overall, 31% of year 4 students reported “depression symptoms”.  Multivariable analysis showed independent predictors as measured in year 1:  depression at year 1 (the strongest predictor), age >24, race/ethnicity non-white and non-Hispanic, high stress, high measure of negative coping, low social support, and mid-range medical school tuition (the only school-related variable that was predictive).  A weighted score was developed which could range from 0 to 10.  Students with a score of 0-1 had a 15% prevalence of depressive symptoms in year 4 and those with scores of 6-10 had a prevalence of 64%.  The authors speculate about the potential uses of this predictor. — Laura Willett, MD

Dyrbye LN, Wittlin NM, Hardeman RR, Yeazel M, Herrin J, Dovidio JF, Burke SE, Cunningham B, Phelan SM, Shanafelt TD, van Ryn M. A Prognostic Index to Identify the Risk of Developing Depression Symptoms Among U.S. Medical Students Derived From A National, Four-Year Longitudinal Study. Acad Med. 2018 Sep

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