Psychological Distress and Lifestyle of Malay Medical Students

Hani Ramli Zafirah, Hanim Mohd Saifuddin Salwa, Nur Farah Liyana Kamaruddin, Muhammad Wafiuddin Ahmad, Zakaria Nurzhafri, Mohd Noor Nor Aini, Yusoff Eizwan Hamdie, Salmi Razali



Background and Purpose: Medical education is a laborious program which may give negative consequences on the physical and psychological health of medical students. The aims of this study were to evaluate psychological distress among Malay medical students and to assess its relationship with their lifestyle.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 221 Malay medical students. Psychological distress and lifestyle were assessed using Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21) and Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile II (HPLPII) respectively.

Results: About 30.8% of Malay medical students had mild to extremely severe depressive symptoms, 62.9 % showed mild to extremely severe anxiety symptoms, and 34.9% of them had mild to extremely severe stress. The depressive subscale was significantly higher among female than male students (Z=-2.613, P=0.009). There was a significant negative correlation between total psychological distress and spiritual growth (r=-0.217, P=0.001). Depression was found not only negatively correlated with spiritual growth (r =-0.328, P=0.000) but also interpersonal relationship (r=-0.161, P=0.016). Stress was inversely correlated with physical activity (r =-0.172, P=0.011). Preclinical students had significantly better scores in health responsibility (Z=-2.301, P=0.021), interpersonal relationship (Z=-2.840, P=0.005), stress management (Z=-2.339, P=0.019), spiritual growth (Z=-2.483, P=0.013) and nutrition and diet (Z =-2.456, P=0.014) than clinical students.

Conclusions: Malay medical students had significant symptoms that indicate psychological distress that related to their lifestyle. This warrants further psychiatric evaluation and management for them to be good and safe future doctors.

 Keywords: Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Lifestyle, Medical Students


Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Lifestyle, Medical Students

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