Mental Health of Turkish Medical Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Nur Ece Öztaş Şükür, Tuncay Müge Alvur, Bülent Coşkun, İrem Damla Çimen

Anahtar Kelimeler: mental health, medical students, COVID-19, pandemic, anxiety, depression

In this study it is aimed to investigate anxiety and depression levels of medical school students and the factors associated with these mental problems.

Gereç ve Yöntem:
The forms were sent over the internet to the officials responsible for medical education at universities in various regions of Turkey. A total of 2778 medical faculty students were included in the study. Students were asked to fill out the sociodemographic data form, the Patient Health Questionnaire – 9 (PHQ-9), and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7)Test.

Students’ %67.3 were female and %31.7 were male. 90.2% of the students in the PHQ-9 scale had depressive symptoms in the major depressive disorder (MDD) dimension, and 44.5% in the GAD-7 scale had moderate/severe anxiety symptoms. Gender, being a preclinical student, history of psychiatric treatment in the past, currently receiving psychiatric treatment, death of someone due to pandemic, economic and health situation, perception of mental health were found associated with MDD and Moderate/Severe Anxiety symptoms. Students with Anxiety and MDD reported significantly more anxiety about contamination and negative beliefs about precautions’ sufficiency.

It was determined that medical school students in our country showed anxiety and depression at a remarkable level during the pandemic. Examining the underlying causes of these high rates will be beneficial in terms of taking precautions during the long-term pandemic. There is a limited number of study on this subject in our country, we believe that our study will be useful in future studies to determine the underlying causes of mental illnesses and what can be done to help students.