The summary estimate of the prevalence of depression or depressive symptoms among medical students was 27.2% and that of suicidal ideation was 11.1%, according to a recent study. Researchers conducted a systematic search of medical literature for studies on the prevalence of depression, depressive symptoms, or suicidal ideation in medical students published before September 17, 2016. Depression or depressive symptom prevalence data were extracted from 167 cross-sectional studies (n=116,628) and 16 longitudinal studies (n=5,728) from 43 countries. They found:
- The overall pooled crude prevalence of depression or depressive symptoms was 27.2% (37,933/122,356 individuals).
- Depressive symptom prevalence remained relatively constant over the period studied.
- The percentage of medical students screening positive for depression who sought psychiatric treatment was 15.7% (110/954 individuals).
- Suicidal ideation prevalence data were extracted from 24 cross-sectional studies (n=21,002) from 15 countries; the overall pooled crude prevalence of suicidal ideation was 11.1% (2,043/21,002 individuals).
Rotenstein LS, Ramos MA Torre M, et al. Prevalence of depression, depressive symptoms, and suicidal ideation among medical students: A systematic review and meta-analysis. [Published online ahead of print December 6, 2016]. JAMA. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.17324.