Clinical research
Are students prone to depression and suicidal thoughts?
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Submission date: 2013-06-25
Final revision date: 2013-07-16
Acceptance date: 2013-07-16
Online publication date: 2013-10-11
Publication date: 2015-06-30
Arch Med Sci 2015;11(3):605–611
Introduction: Depression may affect up to 9.8% of adolescents and young adults and is associated with significant life-long consequences. The aim of our study was to assess the association between symptoms of depression and demographic factors such as gender, having brothers or sisters, background (rural/small town or urban permanent place of residence), perceived financial status, current living arrangements, year and major area of study. Material and methods: One thousand one hundred eighty-three students of medical or similar faculties, 71% of whom were females, anonymously answered the Kutcher Adolescent Depression Scale (KADS) and completed a demographic questionnaire. Results: We found that 6.5% of all participants (n = 77) had depression according to Kutcher’s criteria whereas 1.5% of them (n = 18) reported suicidal thoughts. We also observed the influence of such factors as gender (p < 0.009), year (p < 0.001), major area of study (p < 0.034), and financial status (p < 0.000–0.003), on depression scores. Moreover, depressive symptomatology was most frequent in subjects who were only children, in freshmen and in students of psychology (11.5%, 13.2% and 16.7% respectively). However, we did not observe an impact of such agents as students’ permanent place of residence (p = 0.929) or current living arrangements on depressive symptoms (p = 0.940). Conclusions: Susceptibility to depression fluctuates throughout the course of study and depends on factors associated with the study itself such as the student’s major or year of study and other socio-demographic agents, i.e. gender or self-reported financial status.