Emotional disorders among medical students in a Malaysian private medical school

Singapore Med J. 2007 Oct;48(10):895-9.


Introduction: A study was done between December 2005 and January 2006 to determine the prevalence of emotional disorders among medical students in a private medical school in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia and to determine the demographical characteristics, contributing factors and the key person consulted for emotional problems.

Methods: Medical students in the private medical school completed the 12-item English version of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and a demographical questionnaire. A cut-off point of 3/4 for the GHQ was used to determine negative and positive scores for emotional disorders.

Results: Out of 292 medical students, 86.6 percent completed the questionnaires. A total of 117 students (46.2 percent) were found to have emotional disorders. There was no significant association of ethnicity, gender, age group, number of examinations sat, examination performances, past medical conditions and relationships with parents, siblings, course-mates and lecturers with positive GHQ scores. A significant association, however, was found between positive GHQ scores for emotional disorders and the year of study, pressure faced due to examinations, and not having a love relationship. 39 percent of the students stated friends as their main preference for consultation of any emotional problem.

Conclusion: The prevalence of emotional disorders among medical students was high. Further studies and diagnostic measures are recommended, including a more systematic screening and counselling programme by the medical school for early diagnosis and treatment to prevent complications.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Malaysia / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Schools, Medical / statistics & numerical data
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data