Stress, anxiety and depression among medical undergraduate students and their socio-demographic correlates

Indian J Med Res. 2015 Mar;141(3):354-7. doi: 10.4103/0971-5916.156571.


Background & objectives: Presence of psychological morbidity in medical undergraduate students has been reported from various countries across the world. Indian studies to document this burden are very few. Therefore, the presence of depression, anxiety and stress among medical undergraduate students was assessed using a previously validated and standardized instrument, Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS 42) and the associations with their socio-demographic and personal characteristics were identified.

Methods: In a cross-sectional survey, a self-administered, pre-designed, pre-tested anonymous questionnaire including DASS 42 was used to collect information on basic socio-demographic (age, gender, semester) and personal characteristics (alcohol and tobacco use, academic performance). All students present on the day of survey were contacted for participation after obtaining informed written consent. Scores for each of the respondents over each of the sub-scales (Depression, Anxiety and Stress) were calculated as per the severity-rating index.

Results: More than half of the respondents were affected by depression (51.3%), anxiety (66.9%) and stress (53%). Morbidity was found to be more in 5 th semester students rather than students of 2 nd semester. Females reported higher score as compared to their male counterparts. Perception of self assessment in academics was strongly associated with the higher score.

Conclusions: A substantial proportion of medical undergraduate students was found to be depressed, anxious and stressed revealing a neglected area of the students' psychology requiring urgent attention. Student counselling services need to be made available and accessible to curb this morbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities