New Study Assesses Mental Health of Medical Students

In this study conducted by Rael D. Strous of the Beer Yaakov Mental Health Center at Tel Aviv University in Israel, the mental health of medical students was assessed using self-reports.

Strous asked 110 first-year and fifth-year medical students to write a one-page synopsis of their own mental state. He encouraged them to base their diagnoses on the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, and evaluated the responses for similarities and trends. Strous found that over half of the students (55.5%) disclosed that they had symptoms of some form of mental illness. Although they were mostly minimal, the symptoms that were most commonly reported were those for mood issues and obsessive or compulsive behaviors.

“If true, the findings suggest that it would be important to further efforts in developing support programs for medical students during their studies coordinated by appropriate mental health professionals,” said Strous. These findings could also suggest that medical students with a history of psychological symptomology may be more empathetic to the clients they serve simply because of their own experience with similar conditions.

Strous, Rael D. et al. (2012). Medical students’ self-report of mental health conditions. International Journal of Medical Education 3, 1-5.