Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

The Prevalence and Impact of Depression Among Medical Students: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Study in South Korea

Roh, Myoung-Sun MD, PhD; Jeon, Hong Jin MD, PhD; Kim, Hana MA; Han, Sung Koo MD, PhD; Hahm, Bong-Jin MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181df5e43
Well-Being of Students

Purpose: This nationwide cross-sectional study assessed the prevalence, possible risk factors, and impact of depression among Korean medical students.

Method: Of all medical students (14,095) registered in 41 medical schools in 2006 in South Korea, 7,357 (52.2%) completed the survey. Depression was measured using the patient-rated version of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI-PR). Data on academic functioning, and sociodemographic characteristics were also obtained.

Results: Current, one-year, and lifetime prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) were 2.9%, 6.5%, and 10.3%, respectively. Possible risk factors for one-year MDD were female gender, lower class years, admission track with exemption from entrance exam, living alone at a lodging house or a rented room, and financial difficulty (P < .05). The grade point averages (GPAs) of students with MDD were significantly lower than those of nondepressed students for both semesters (t = 3.8, P < .001; t = 4.8, P < .001). The odds ratio of students with MDD of receiving a GPA below 2.0 was 1.8 (CI 1.4–2.4) as compared with nondepressed students.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated that Korean medical students experience depression frequently. It also highlighted the possible risk factors of MDD among medical students and pervasive association of depression with poor functioning.

Dr. Roh is assistant professor, Department of Medicine and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Seoul National University College of Medicine, and Institute of Human Behavioral Medicine, Medical Research Center, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.

Dr. Jeon is assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry, Depression Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Ms. Kim is clinical psychologist, Health Service Center, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.

Dr. Han is professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Dr. Hahm is associate professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Office of Medical Education, Seoul National University College of Medicine, and Institute of Human Behavioral Medicine, Medical Research Center, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Hahm, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 28 Yongon-Dong, Chongno-Gu, Seoul, 110-744, Korea; telephone: (+82) 2-2072-2557; fax: (+82) 2-744-7241; e-mail: hahm@snu.ac.kr.

First published online May 6, 2010

© 2010 Association of American Medical Colleges