Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental Health of Medical Students at the University of Mostar

This article was originally published here

Psychiatr Danub. 2021 Sep;33(Suppl 10):114-119.


BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown that medical students are more prone to depression, more tired, and more prone to emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and burnout syndrome than other students. In terms of mental health, they are a “more vulnerable” than individuals of the same age in the general population. In December 2019 in Wuhan (China) the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus captured worldwide attention. The implementation of strict quarantine measures kept a large number of people in self-isolation which affected all aspects of life. Objective of the study is to determine the direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and quality of life of medical students and the differences in the impact between genders and years of study.

SUBJECT AND METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study conducted from May 25 to June 5 2020. It includes medical students who resided in the country affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants completed a modified anonymous online questionnaire that assessed the Impact of Event Scale, indicators of negative mental health impacts, social and family support, and lifestyle changes due to a pandemic.

RESULTS: The mean IES score in the participants showed a moderate stressful impact, with the mean IES score of females being significantly higher than that of males (29 vs. 19) with p<0.001. More than half of the participants had an IES score ≥26. With the onset of the pandemic, 71.5% of all medical students reported feeling increased stress from commitments.

CONCLUSIONS: the pandemic had stressful impact on the mental health of medical students and it was significantly more stressful for women and students in the preclinical years of study. The COVID-19 pandemic had no impact on social and family support, however a positive impact on the lifestyle of medical students was found.