Young researcher: on depression symptoms in 6th year medical students

10:25, 25 May, 2015
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Igors Pikaļevs is a sixth year student of the study programme “Medicine” at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) and holder of Boris Teterev Scholarship in Medicine. He has recently carried out a research titled “Prevalence of Depression Symptoms in 6th Year Medical Students” (scientific supervisor: Asst. Prof. Sandra Gintere, RSU Faculty of Continuing Education).

The research was presented at RSU Scientific Student Conference earlier this year. It was among the best research projects in the subsection of Rehabilitation, Nutritional Science, Public Health, Occupational Medicine. The research results were also presented at the ResearchSlam 2015 contest.

pikalevs-mf-student-lead“I chose this topic because depression is a topical issue for the society, for my friends and relatives and for myself as within the last years at the university I faced the symptoms of depression and their consequences. To my mind, depression is a disease that has not been comprehended at an adequate level and regarded as a priority within our society. Depression during study period is a topical problem in particular, as it may cause negative consequences in one's personal life or career,” says Igors (pictured).

Depression is a very widespread mental disease, over 350 million people all around the world suffered from it in 2012. [1] According to the research conducted in 2014, 6.7 % of people suffered from depression in Latvia within the age group from 15 to 64. With regard to students, depression is more topical for those studying in medical, law and continuing education programmes. [3] Depression is associated with higher risk of various diseases and death. [4] The frequency of depression symptoms for medical students varies from 20 to 40 %. [5;6]

Within the framework of this study the author did not focus on the prevalence of depression, but rather on the frequency of the total of symptoms of depression that might serve as a basis for making of diagnosis. It was concluded that the frequency of depression symptoms is similar in case of both Latvia’s medical faculties and around 34% of students suffer from depression (RSU – 34.1 %; University of Latvia – 33.3 %).

Women suffer from depression symptoms more often. 15.27 % of students and 3.61 % of those that are not university students suffered from symptoms of severe and moderate depression and were in need of doctor consultation. For the past two weeks prior to the survey 13.3 % of students had suicidal thoughts of various stages and frequency levels, and 2.96 % of students thought about suicide every day.