Mental Health of First-Year Academics in the Medical School: a Gender Approach

Mirna Rossi Barbosa Medeiros José Fernando Camargo Luiza Augusta Rossi Barbosa Antonio Prates Caldeira About the authors

ABSTRACT

The medical school has a high academic load and usually demands a great student involvement. As a result, medical students may experience high prevalence of stress, Burnout syndrome and even depressive symptoms. Such factors can compromise the students’ quality of life. All of these aspects emphasize the need of deeper studies of this population group, especially in a new context of access to higher education. The objective of this study was to evaluate the overall medical students’ mental health entering the medical school, with emphasis on quality of life, Common Mental Disorders, depressive symptoms, daytime sleepiness level and Burnout, according to the gender. This is a cross-sectional study, performed with first-year undergraduate medical students from three institutions from the north of Minas Gerais. Questionnaires were applied to evaluate daytime sleepiness, depressive symptoms, Common Mental Disorders, Burnout and quality of life, as well as a questionnaire with sociodemographic information. Academics were approached at the college where they study, at the beginning or at the end of the class. Data were analyzed using the chi-square test, and Student’s t-test for independent samples, in the comparison between genders. Data from 101 incoming students were evaluated. Stress was present in 45.5% of the students. The prevalence of depressive symptoms of varying degrees was also significant, affecting 43.6% of the students. There was a statistically significant difference in the mental component of quality of life and in the presence of Common Mental Disorders between men and women. It was possible to observe that a significant portion had pathological levels of daytime sleepiness, symptoms of Common Mental Disorders, depressive symptoms of varying degrees, emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. More than a third of the academics consider their quality of life bad when it comes to the physical and mental domain. The quality of the course and health care requires a humanized professional who seek good health, that’s why it is essential that universities discuss strategies that promote health and the prevention of symptoms that compromise the mental health of academics.

Students, Medical; Behavioral Medicine; Depression; Burnout, Professional; Quality of Life

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