Mental depression and coping strategies among medical students of University of Nigeria, Enugu campus.
Background/Objectives: Many students are daily exposed academic, psychosocial and health related stressors which predispose them to mental depression. This in turn impairs students’ behavior, diminish learning and ultimately affect patient care. This study was carried out to ascertain the degrees of mental depression , predisposing factors and coping
strategies in medical students
. Methods: Study was cross-sectional with sample of 762 drawn by stratified random sampling from third, fourth, fifth and sixth year classes. A self administered questionnaire that incorporated the Becks Depression Inventory BDI-II to assess depression was used.
Results:Mean age of respondents was 24.08 ± 2.41. Prevalence of minimal depression was 61.9%, mild depression 27.6%, moderate depression 8.9% and severe depression 1.6%. Statistically significant difference (p<0.05) exist in the prevalence of mild depression in different classes. The factors associated with depression in order of importance were: high failure rates in the MBBS examinations (80.6%), frequent rescheduling of lectures (73.3%), long travel time from hostels to learning areas (75.5%); long stay in medical school (71.7%), inadequate accommodation ( 69.3%). Others are study conditions, lecturers’
attitudes, finances, frequent examinations / tests, parental expectations, dual roles and poor relationship with parents. Coping strategies identified: 25% coped passively, 25% talked to friends/ classmates, 23.9% discussed it with their parents/guardians while 17.1% talked to a priest. About
11.5% resorted to alcohol, 4.7% to smoking / use of stimulants. Only 2.1% sought medical advice.
Conclusions: The prevalence of mild to moderate depression among medical students is high . Factors related to the academic environment are associated with depression in students and only minimal proportion sought medical advice.