Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 42  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 116-121

Pattern and correlates of depression among medical students: An 18-month follow-up study

1 Department of Psychiatry, Dr. SMCSI Medical College, Karakonam, Kerala, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Govt Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, Dr. SMCSI Medical College, Karakonam, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Christina George
A1, Aiswarya Nagar, Kesavadasapuram, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_28_19

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Background: Medical students are subjected to various challenges, which are possibly etiological in the onset and persistence of depression. There is inadequate research on the longitudinal pattern and correlates of the emotional health of medical students in India. We aim to delineate the longitudinal pattern of depression among medical students and the factors predictive of depression. Methods: An 18-month follow-up design with 350 students (2012 intake) from two medical colleges in Kerala, India, was employed. A semistructured questionnaire and the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 were administered 2, 8, and 18 months into the course. Results: Depression was present in 42.80%, 36.20%, and 42.50% of the students at the three assessments. Variables significantly associated with depression on univariate analysis were the course not being of the student's choice at the first assessment; having an unemployed parent (mother) at the second assessment; alcohol use and male gender at the third assessment. On multivariate analysis, male gender (OR = 1.95[1.11–3.41]) and the presence of depression at 2 months (OR = 2.30[1.31–4.05]) and 8 months (OR = 2.48[1.39–4.44]) were predictive of depression at 18 months. Conclusions: The high rates of depression and the pattern of high rates early in the course among the medical students contrasts with that reported from other countries. Early depression and male gender were predictive of depression later in the course. The implications of this are to be taken into consideration when undergraduate intervention programs are planned.

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