The association between physical symptoms and depression among medical students in Bahrain.

Research paper by Ammar M Y AMY Abdelaziz, Khalid T KT Alotaibi, Jarah H JH Alhurayyis, Turky A TA Alqahtani, Aamer M AM Alghamlas, Haifa M HM Algahtani, Haitham A HA Jahrami

Indexed on: 19 Dec '17Published on: 19 Dec '17Published in: International journal of medical education


To examine the association between depression and physical symptoms among medical students in Bahrain.  The present study employed a cross-sectional design.  A total of 160 students were recruited, 41.3% were male and 58.8% female, using a convenience sampling approach. Participants completed the validated Patients Health Questionnaires (PHQs) in which they provided information about demographics, physical symptoms, and depression. Results were considered significant if p <0.05.Nearly nineteen percent of the participants have moderate to severe depression, and 42.2% has moderate to severe physical symptoms.  Participants reported different physical symptoms, sleep problems, 40%; lethargy, 31.9%; and headaches, 23.8%. The results of the logistic regression showed that there was a significant association between age and gender (χ2(3) = 32.28, p < 0.001). Sleep and gastrointestinal symptoms were the most associated with depression, respectively (χ2(3)=49.77, p<0.001) and (χ2(3)=49.77, p< 0.05).The association between depression and physical symptoms are considerably high among medical students in Bahrain.  Medical educators should take such symptoms seriously among medical students as it may have serious consequences on the mental health of medical students. In practice, adequate awareness initiatives should be organized and provided for medical students to help them overcome their challenges they face. Additionally, incorporating screening self-screening strategies in the medical curriculum can be beneficial for early detections of mental health problems. The Implications and limitations of the study are discussed.