There were several hundred individual studies of smaller groups of students that were out there, but each on its own is not that impactful, said Mata. I thought by combining everything and saying, listen, this is a study with over 120,000 people in it; this is something were seeing around the world, it kind of underscores how serious this is. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines major depressive disorder based on nine cardinal symptoms to be diagnosed during an in-person interview. Technically speaking, the surveys (which probe for these symptoms in a standardized fashion) cannot diagnose depression, said Mata. But each survey had been validated in prior studies and shown to agree with interview-based diagnoses. Thats why we trust the data that we were able to put together, Mata said, noting that surveys also offer the benefits of anonymity. Since theres still some stigma associated with mood disorders, medical students are more likely to be honest about their symptoms if they dont have to worry about their attending physician or the medical board finding out their responses. Mata said he was motivated by the need to provide data for policy-makers on just how widespread the problem is among future doctors, so perhaps they can try to reverse these statistics. High rates of depression Overall, the researchers calculated the prevalence of depression or depressive symptom as nearly 26.7%, with exactly 37,933 of 122,356 total participants reporting symptoms. http://www.pfcdavidlawrence.org/justhenryreyes/2016/08/30/a-good-a-z-interviewA subset of 24 studies from 15 countries looked at suicidal thoughts; here the overall prevalence was 11% (or 2,043 of 21,002 participants), say the researchers. With some variation across regions, then, medical school students are between two and five times more likely to experience depression than the general population of the United States.
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