Anxiety, depression and stressful life events among medical students: a prospective study in Antalya, Turkey

Med Educ. 2001 Jan;35(1):12-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.2001.00726.x.


Objective: To assess psychological changes in medical students in Antalya, Turkey during their undergraduate education. The first-year follow-up outcomes are presented in this article.

Design: All first-year undergraduate students were given a detailed, self-report questionnaire and another in the second year. They were asked to complete the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).

Setting: The Faculties of Medicine, Economics and Physical Education (PE) of the Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey.

Participants: All first-year undergraduate students in the Faculties of Medicine, Economics and PE who were registered in 1996.

Results: The findings showed that psychological test scores on the GHQ, the STAI and the BDI rose significantly in medical students between the first and second years. Using the GHQ, with different cut-off scores, the percentage of students scoring above the thresholds was higher in medical students in year 2, compared with economics and PE students. In addition, the scores for some stressful life events of medical students showed a significant rise from year 1 to year 2. Multiple regression analyses indicated that some stressful life events related to social activities were associated with the psychological test scores for medical students.

Conclusion: The results indicate that there is a decrease in the psychological health of first-year medical students. Some inadequacies in the social activities of the students might play a role in this type of disturbance.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Turkey / epidemiology