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      The Global Prevalence of Anxiety Among Medical Students: A Meta-Analysis

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          Abstract

          Anxiety, although as common and arguably as debilitating as depression, has garnered less attention, and is often undetected and undertreated in the general population. Similarly, anxiety among medical students warrants greater attention due to its significant implications. We aimed to study the global prevalence of anxiety among medical students and the associated factors predisposing medical students to anxiety. In February 2019, we carried out a systematic search for cross-sectional studies that examined the prevalence of anxiety among medical students. We computed the aggregate prevalence and pooled odds ratio (OR) using the random-effects model and used meta-regression analyses to explore the sources of heterogeneity. We pooled and analyzed data from sixty-nine studies comprising 40,348 medical students. The global prevalence rate of anxiety among medical students was 33.8% (95% Confidence Interval: 29.2–38.7%). Anxiety was most prevalent among medical students from the Middle East and Asia. Subgroup analyses by gender and year of study found no statistically significant differences in the prevalence of anxiety. About one in three medical students globally have anxiety—a prevalence rate which is substantially higher than the general population. Administrators and leaders of medical schools should take the lead in destigmatizing mental illnesses and promoting help-seeking behaviors when students are stressed and anxious. Further research is needed to identify risk factors of anxiety unique to medical students.

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          Most cited references106

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          Systematic review of depression, anxiety, and other indicators of psychological distress among U.S. and Canadian medical students.

          To systematically review articles reporting on depression, anxiety, and burnout among U.S. and Canadian medical students. Medline and PubMed were searched to identify peer-reviewed English-language studies published between January 1980 and May 2005 reporting on depression, anxiety, and burnout among U.S. and Canadian medical students. Searches used combinations of the Medical Subject Heading terms medical student and depression, depressive disorder major, depressive disorder, professional burnout, mental health, depersonalization, distress, anxiety, or emotional exhaustion. Reference lists of retrieved articles were inspected to identify relevant additional articles. Demographic information, instruments used, prevalence data on student distress, and statistically significant associations were abstracted. The search identified 40 articles on medical student psychological distress (i.e., depression, anxiety, burnout, and related mental health problems) that met the authors' criteria. No studies of burnout among medical students were identified. The studies suggest a high prevalence of depression and anxiety among medical students, with levels of overall psychological distress consistently higher than in the general population and age-matched peers by the later years of training. Overall, the studies suggest psychological distress may be higher among female students. Limited data were available regarding the causes of student distress and its impact on academic performance, dropout rates, and professional development. Medical school is a time of significant psychological distress for physicians-in-training. Currently available information is insufficient to draw firm conclusions on the causes and consequences of student distress. Large, prospective, multicenter studies are needed to identify personal and training-related features that influence depression, anxiety, and burnout among students and explore relationships between distress and competency.
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            Quality-of-life impairment in depressive and anxiety disorders.

            Previous reports demonstrating quality-of-life impairment in anxiety and affective disorders have relied upon epidemiological samples or relatively small clinical studies. Administration of the same quality-of-life scale, the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire, to subjects entering multiple large-scale trials for depression and anxiety disorders allowed us to compare the impact of these disorders on quality of life. Baseline Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire, demographic, and clinical data from 11 treatment trials, including studies of major depressive disorder, chronic/double depression, dysthymic disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social phobia, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were analyzed. The proportion of patients with clinically severe impairment (two or more standard deviations below the community norm) in quality of life varied with different diagnoses: major depressive disorder (63%), chronic/double depression (85%), dysthymic disorder (56%), panic disorder (20%), OCD (26%), social phobia (21%), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (31%), and PTSD (59%). Regression analyses conducted for each disorder suggested that illness-specific symptom scales were significantly associated with baseline quality of life but explained only a small to modest proportion of the variance in Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire scores. Subjects with affective or anxiety disorders who enter clinical trials have significant quality-of-life impairment, although the degree of dysfunction varies. Diagnostic-specific symptom measures explained only a small proportion of the variance in quality of life, suggesting that an individual's perception of quality of life is an additional factor that should be part of a complete assessment.
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              Prevalence of depression amongst medical students: a meta-analysis.

              Medical schools are known to be stressful environments for students and hence medical students have been believed to experience greater incidences of depression than others. We evaluated the global prevalence of depression amongst medical students, as well as epidemiological, psychological, educational and social factors in order to identify high-risk groups that may require targeted interventions.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                31 July 2019
                August 2019
                : 16
                : 15
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119007, Singapore
                [2 ]Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Huaibei Normal University, Huaibei 235000, China
                [3 ]Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119007, Singapore
                [4 ]Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
                [5 ]Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
                [6 ]Vietnam Young Physicians’ Association, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
                [7 ]School of Education, Huaibei Normal University, Huaibei 235000, China
                [8 ]Department of Psychological Medicine, National University Health System, Singapore 119007, Singapore
                [9 ]Institute for Health Innovation and Technology (iHealthtech), National University of Singapore, Singapore 117599, Singapore
                [10 ]Centre of Excellence in Behavioral Medicine, Nguyen Tat Thanh University (NTTU), Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: rsczzs@ 123456chnu.edu.cn ; Tel.: +86-13856105376
                Article
                ijerph-16-02735
                10.3390/ijerph16152735
                6696211
                31370266
                277bed7a-0322-4021-886e-164ebbb4100a
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                Categories
                Review

                Public health
                anxiety,anxious,medical students,student doctors,medical school,medical education,prevalence,meta-analysis,review

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