Objective: To determine the prevalence of anxiety and depression among medical students at Nishtar Medical College, Multan.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out at Nishtar Medical College, Multan in 2008. The questionnaire was administered to 815 medical students who had spent more than 6 months in college and had no self reported physical illness. They were present at the time of distribution of the questionnaires and consented. Prevalence of anxiety and depression was assessed using a structured validated questionnaire, the Aga Khan University Anxiety and Depression Scale with a cut-off score of 19. Data Analysis was done using SPSS v. 14.
Results: Out of 815 students, 482 completed the questionnaire with a response rate of 59.14%. The mean age of students was 20.66 +/- 1.8 years. A high prevalence of anxiety and depression (43.89%) was found amongst medical students. Prevalence of anxiety and depression among students of first, second, third, fourth and final years was 45.86%, 52.58%, 47.14%, 28.75% and 45.10% respectively. Female students were found to be more depressed than male students (OR = 2.05, 95% CI = 1.42-2.95, p = 0.0001). There was a significant association between the prevalence of anxiety and depression and the respective year of medical college (p = 0.0276). It was seen that age, marital status, locality and total family income did not significantly affect the prevalence of anxiety and depression.
Conclusions: The results showed that medical students constitute a vulnerable group that has a high prevalence of psychiatric morbidity comprising of anxiety and depression.