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Prevalence of depression and its associated factors among clinical-year medical students in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia
  1. Nouf A AlShamlan1,
  2. Reem A AlShamlan2,
  3. Abeer A AlShamlan2,
  4. Reem S AlOmar1,
  5. Naheel A AlAmer1,
  6. Magdy A Darwish1,
  7. Abdulaziz M Sebiany1
  1. 1 Department of Family and Community Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
  2. 2 Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nouf A AlShamlan, Department of Family and Community medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia; nashamlan{at}


Background To assess the prevalence of depression among medical students in their clinical years (fourth, fifth, and sixth years) in a government university in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia, and its association with the students' sociodemographic characteristics, academic factors, perceived health problems and their perceived readiness to their future specialties.

Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted among 527 clinical-year medical students. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and questionnaire designed by the researchers to collect data on sociodemographic and academic variables were used as research instruments. Statistical analyses were conducted using Stata Statistical Software V.15. Descriptive statistics, the χ test, and both an ordered logistic regression and a binary logistic regression analysis were performed.

Results The prevalence of depression was found to be 39.27%, according to the results of the PHQ-9. Both the ordered logistic regression and the binary logistic regression analyses revealed that the odds of severe depression were high among women, and students who perceived that they were not yet ready for their future specialties. The more senior the medical students were, the less likely it is that they have severe depression. A similar association was found for students who perceived that they did not have psychological problems. However, students' grade point average was not statistically significantly associated with depression.

Conclusions The prevalence of depression was high among the medical students examined. Policy makers should establish screening programmes, provide counselling for students who need it and deliver early interventions in detected cases.

  • depression & mood disorders
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  • Contributors NS, RS, AS, RO and AS designed the study. RS, AS, NA and AS collected the data. RO, RS and NS conducted the statistical analysis. RO, NS, RS, AS, NA, MD and AS analysed and interpreted the data. NS, RS, NA and AS wrote the manuscript. All authors critically reviewed and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was obtained from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) committee at IAU.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.

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