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A ten-year study of depressive symptoms in Serbian medical students.

Acta clinica Croatica

Young Adult, Cross-Sectional Studies, Depression, epidemiology, Female, Humans, Male, Serbia, Students, Medical, psychology

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      Abstract

      The main objective of this study was to examine the rate of three dimensions of depressive symptoms in medical student population in Serbia, and to find out whether this rate had changed over the period often years. This cross-sectional study included 615 medical students (F = 61% and M = 39%), mean age = 23.60 (SD = 1.541), who were tested in five non-consecutive surveys between 2002 and 2012. Depressive symptoms were measured by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The mean BDI score for the entire sample was 6.26 +/- 6.175. There was no significant difference in total BDI score among the values obtained during the ten years of testing. The greatest portion of the examined sample (77.24%) had no signs of depressive symptoms, and there was no difference in symptom intensity between medical students and other educational profiles. Similar to previous results, females had higher scores on all depressive dimensions except for one tested year, whereas a weak correlation was found between BDI scores and student age (r = 0.104; p = 0.010). Since there are still discrepancies among studies that do (not) report that medical students have typical depressive symptoms, potential explanations for the mentioned discrepancies may be found in individual characteristics of the members of the student population. Our suggestions for future studies are that they should include the stress factor, stress coping strategies, estimated life satisfaction, and the impact of these factors on the potential mental disorders.

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