Is Depression Among Med Students a Hidden Epidemic?

January 04, 2017

A new JAMA study has found that the seeds of burnout may be sown as early as medical school.

More than a quarter of medical students experience depression or depressive symptoms, the meta-analysis of nearly 200 studies by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School reported. About 10% of med students admit to suicidal urges. These symptoms are highly elevated compared with the general population of people around the same age, the study authors found, yet only a minority of troubled students sought help.

The analysis also noted that the problem is a global one. It pooled data from 167 cross-sectional and 16 longitudinal studies gathered in 43 countries. The estimated overall prevalence of depression or depressive symptoms among medical students was 27.2% and ranged from 9.3% to 55.9%.

The prevalence of depressive symptoms remained relatively constant during the period of investigation. The authors called it a "hidden epidemic right under our noses."


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as: