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Medical students' self-report of mental health conditions

Author(s): Rael D. Strous | Netta Shoenfeld | Avi Lehman | Aharon Wolf | Leah Snyder | Ori Barzilai

Journal: International Journal of Medical Education
ISSN 2042-6372

Volume: 3;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: medical students | subsyndromal mental illness | mental health conditions | self-evaluation | israel

Objectives: To investigate the subjective presence of a range of subsyndromal and syndromal mental health conditions in medical students, and to compare the presence of these conditions between preclinical and clinical training. Methods: A cross sectional study was used among first-and fifth-year medical students. Student reported their mental health conditions using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria, the fourth version (DSM-IV). Data analysis was based on 110 questionnaires. Results: A total of 61 students (55.5 reported that they experienced symptoms of mental illness, albeit many with minimum severity. More than 50 of the students reported that they experienced Axis I and Axis II disorders, which mostly were mood disorders (38in year 1 and 35in year 5) and obsessive-compulsive traits (41in year 1 and 46in year 5), respectively. The least common disorders reported were psychotic disorders (5in year 1 and 0in year 5) and schizotypal traits (7in year 1 and 2in year 5). Fifth-year students reported more Axis I disorders than first-year students. Female students reported more Axis I disorders than their male peers. A further analysis indicated that there was no significant association between age and Axis disorders. Several conditions were comorbid with other mental illnesses. Conclusions: A great number of students reported that they experience mental health conditions with minimal severity. This implies a need for indispensable ongoing support programs for the special needs of medical students.
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