Cureus. 2023 Aug 8;15(8):e43117. doi: 10.7759/cureus.43117. eCollection 2023 Aug.
PURPOSE: Undergraduate health sciences students are irrefutably liable to intrapersonal tension that may provoke the almost imperceptible onset and incremental expansion of depressive symptoms. Mental health is often a deplorably neglected topic despite posing as a catalyst in many students’ academic demise. Thus, the primary objective of this paper is to provide an insight into a multitude of variables that foster depressive symptoms. In doing so, the scope of subclinical depression that could be hindering a student’s academic performance shall be illuminated.
METHODOLOGY: A cross-sectional study was conducted among health sciences students comprising both genders, any nationality, students 18 years of age or older, and students within their first three years of undergraduate study. The well-established Patient Health Questionnaire-9 was distributed along with a non-standardized questionnaire that inquires about additional risk factors. The chi-square test method was used to associate the dependent and independent variables, and statistical significance was done at p-value ≤ 0.05.
FINDINGS: It was observed that 34.8% of participants suffer depressive symptoms. Participants’ sex and marital status, among many other factors, like age, program and year of study, are found to be statistically insignificant. Conversely, nationality, university-related workload, smoking, alcohol intake and more are noted to be significantly associated with the development of depressive symptoms.
ORIGINALITY: This study is an original work done by the authors to investigate the prevalence of depressive symptoms among undergraduate health sciences students. The non-standardized questionnaire employed has been reviewed to ensure that it is without discrimination of any gender or biased towards any stakeholders.