Background: Medical education can contribute to the development of depression in medical students which may have possible negative academic and professional consequences. The aims of this study were to explore the prevalence of depressive symptoms and their relationships to socio-demographic variables among a cross section of medical students of a private medical college in India. Methods: A cross-sectional anonymous questionnaire-based survey was conducted including all students from first to fourth year of a medical college in India. Beck depression inventory was used to assess the level of depression with a score of 12 or higher considered depressive. Additional questions regarding demographic variables were also included in the survey. Data analysis was done on Epi info version 6. Results: A total of 336 students participated giving a response rate of 88%. A total of 49.1% students reported depressive symptoms. It was significantly higher in 1st year (59.3%) and 2nd year (65.6%), as compared to 3rd (34.4%) and 4th year (37.2%) students [p<0. 05]. Substance abuse(p<0.0001), first and second year of study, female sex and language of instruction other than English at 10+2 level were associated factors for the development of depressive symptoms [p<0.05]. A significant negative association was also found between regular exercise and depression (p<0.05). Conclusion: Depression may be a significant hidden problem in Indian medical students and mechanisms to identify and help students with mental health problems should be seriously considered
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