Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 246-254

Depression and stigma in medical students at a private medical college


Department of Psychiatry, Pramukhswami Medical College, Karamsad, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jagdish R Vankar
C2/6, Staff Quarters, Shree Krishna Hospital, Karamsad, Anand, Gujarat - 388 325
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0253-7176.135372

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Objectives: This study aimed to assess prevalence rate of depression and perceptions regarding stigma associated with depression amongst medical students. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted amongst 331 undergraduate medical students at a private medical college in Gujarat. Data was collected, which comprised of socio-demographic details, Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and a 22-item semi-structured questionnaire to assess personal, perceived, and help-seeking stigma. Univariate analysis and chi-square tests were used to test for association between variables. Results: Overall prevalence of depression was found to be 64%. Highest level of depression was seen in first year. Moderate to severe depression was found in 26.6% students. 73.3% students felt that having depression would negatively affect their education, and 52.3% saw depression as a sign of personal weakness. Females more strongly believed that students would not want to work with a depressed student (50.9% v/s 36.2%) and that if depressed, they would be unable to complete medical college responsibilities (61.9% v/s 44.1%). With increasing academic year, there was increase in stigma about disclosing depression to friends (P = 0.0082) and increase in stigma about working with a depressed student (P = 0.0067). Depressed students felt more strongly than non-depressed students on 10 items of the stigma questionnaire. Conclusions: High stigma exists among students about the causation of depression, and there exists an environment in which students discriminate fellow colleagues based on the presence of depression. This raises need for increasing awareness and support from peers and faculty.


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