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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 183-190

Depression among medical students of India: Meta-analysis of published research studies using screening instruments

1 Department of Community Medicine, North Delhi Municipal Corporation Medical College and Hindu Rao Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Amity Institute of Public Health, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sandeep Sachdeva
Department of Community Medicine, North Delhi Municipal Corporation Medical College and Hindu Rao Hospital, New Delhi - 110 007
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_119_20

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Objectives and Background: To determine the pooled prevalence of depression among medical students of India by undertaking meta-analysis of published original research studies Materials and Methods: Systematic search was undertaken using PubMed and Google Scholar databases for freely available original articles published between 2014 and 2018 on the subject depression among Indian medical (MBBS) undergraduate students using PRISMA guidelines. Results: A total of 28 original research articles were identified involving 7046 medical students from different medical colleges of India. The median number of students was 284.5 (range, 86–444). All the original research articles had used standardized and validated global screening instruments for identifying depression, and none was based on clinical diagnosis. Meta-analysis of pooled prevalence estimate of depression among medical students in India by random-effects model was 40% (confidence interval [CI]: 32%–47%). Girls had a slightly higher risk of depression than boys (odds ratio = 1.06; 95% CI: 0.81–1.38). There were a total of 16 (57.1%) research articles with the presence of psychiatrist as a co-author and had a pooled prevalence of 39% (95% CI: 29%–49%). The remaining 12 studies without psychiatrist as co-author also reported a nearly similar finding, with prevalence of 44% (95% CI: 33%–54%). On subgroup analysis, it was revealed that the pooled prevalence of depression was 37.9% (95% CI: 22–55), 45% (95% CI: 42–52), and 34% (95% CI: 24–50) in research articles using study instruments Beck Depression Inventory, Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, and other miscellaneous screening instruments, respectively. Conclusion: Within study limitations, the high prevalence of depression was noted among medical students of India and the situation warrants comprehensive management by stakeholders.

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