Suicidal ideation in medical students: recent insights
Received 18 July 2018
Accepted for publication 24 October 2018
Published 29 November 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 873—880
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak
Peer reviewer comments 4
Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder
Ricardo Coentre,1,2 Carlos Góis1,2
1Department of Psychiatry, Hospital de Santa Maria, Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte, EPE, Lisboa, Portugal; 2Psychiatric University Clinic, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Lisboa, Portugal
Background: Previous studies have indicated that suicidal ideation is prevalent in medical students. The factors related to school admission processes and medical school environments contribute to this high prevalence. The consequences of suicidal ideation include suicide attempts and completed suicide. This article reviewed the recent literature on suicidal ideation in medical students.
Materials and methods: A systematic review of the literature was conducted to identify the articles published on the prevalence of suicidal ideation and associated factors in medical students. Original articles published from 2011 were included.
Results: Seventeen studies comprising a total of 13,244 medical students from 13 Western and non-Western countries were included. The prevalence of suicidal ideation ranged from 1.8% to 53.6%. The most frequent factors associated with suicidal ideation in medical students were depression and depressive symptoms, a previous diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder, lower socioeconomic status/financial difficulties, having a history of drug use, and feeling neglected by parents. We did not find studies on interventional studies on suicidal ideation in medical students published in recent years.
Conclusion: We identified a number of non-Western studies published in recent years, overcoming the previous scarcity of research in this area. Findings confirmed that suicidal ideation in medical students remains a significant concern. Future studies should focus on preventive and treatment programs targeting the identified factors associated with suicidal ideation in medical students.
Keywords: suicidal ideation, medical students, depression, prevalence, suicide
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