Effect of COVID-19 Infection on Mental Health of Medical Students
Keywords:DASS-42, Depression, Anxiety, Stress, COVID-19, Undergraduate Medical Students
Background: Stressful environment in medical school often has a negative effect on students’ psychosocial well‐being and COVID-19 has a further additive effect on it. The COVID-19 pandemic is found to affect the mental health of the population. Undergraduate medical students are especially prone to mental health disorders and hence could be more vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic. An in‐depth understanding of how medical students experience psychological distress and coping is necessary for prospective students.
Aim & Objective: To determine the effect of COVID-19 on mental health of medical students.
Methods: A web-based cross-sectional study was carried out on 299 undergraduate medical students in the medical colleges of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, India. They were divided into 4 groups based on whether the participants, their family members, both or none of them were affected with COVID-19 infection. The questionnaires provided to the participants in this study consisted of three components – (i) the demographic information that required participants to provide their gender, age and year of study (ii) COVID-19 related questionnaire and (iii) Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale‐42 (DASS-42) items to measure the levels of psychological distress among participants. Chi square statistical test and One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were the statistical tools used in this study.
Results: It was observed that depression (χ=9.839, p=0.043) was found to be significant in participants who were not affected with COVID-19 infection. Statistically significant differences were observed in participants’ depression (χ=11.976, p=0.018) and stress (χ=9.839, p=0.043) levels whose family members were affected with COVID-19. One way ANOVA showed that anxiety levels (F(3,295)=4.267, p=0.006) was significantly higher when both participants and their family members (group 3) were affected with COVID-19 infection.
Conclusion: This study has shown that COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns affected the mental health of young population.