Back to Journals » Advances in Medical Education and Practice » Volume 9

Depression in medical students: current insights

Authors Moir F, Yielder J, Sanson J, Chen Y

Received 15 November 2017

Accepted for publication 21 December 2017

Published 7 May 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 323—333

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S137384

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Robert Robinson

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder


Fiona Moir,1 Jill Yielder,2 Jasmine Sanson,3 Yan Chen4

1Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; 2Medical Programme Directorate, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; 3Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; 4Centre for Medical and Health Sciences Education, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand


Abstract: Medical students are exposed to multiple factors during their academic and clinical study that have been shown to contribute to high levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. The purpose of this article was to explore the issue of depression in the medical student population, including prevalence, causes, and key issues, along with suggestions for early identification and support from one medical school in New Zealand. After establishing that the prevalence of depression is higher for medical students than the general population, the key issues explored include assessment used in the program, characteristics of the student population (such as Type A personality and perfectionism), resilience, selection procedures, students’ motivation, and the nature of the clinical environment. This review includes several recommendations to improve students’ psychological health such as positioning well-being within an overarching comprehensive workplace wellness model and integrating peer and faculty-led support into the day-to-day running of the institution. It also highlights the advantages of the addition of a well-being curriculum, as skills to prevent and manage distress and depression are relevant in supporting the competencies required by medical practitioners. It concludes that medical schools need wide-ranging strategies to address the complexities associated with the particular student population attracted to medicine and calls for educators to act, by noticing opportunities where they can introduce such initiatives into their medical programs.

Keywords: depression, well-being, medical students, medical school, mental health

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]