Depression in military medicine cadets: A cross-sectional study

Dimitrios Nasioudis, Leonidas Palaiodimos, Matthaios Dagiasis, Angeliki Katsarou, Evangelos Ntouros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Military medicine cadets undergo strenuous military training alongside demanding medical studies. This stressful and complex educational environment can lead to the emergence of depressive symptoms. We investigated the prevalence of depressive symptoms in a cohort of military medicine cadets. Methods: We conducted a descriptive questionnaire-based cross-sectional study among Greek military medicine cadets in the undergraduate program of the Hellenic Military School of Combat Support Officers. The Greek translation of the Zung self-rating depression scale questionnaire was used to screen for the presence of depressive symptoms. In addition, demographic, academic and dietary information was collected. The Shapiro-Wilk test of normality, Pearson correlation test, Chi-square test, t-test and Mann Whitney U test were employed for statistical analysis. Results: We enrolled 55 female and 91 male military medicine cadets with a mean age of 19.84 years (SD=0.99). The mean Zung crude score was 43.32 (SD=4.55): 42.8 (SD=4.43) for female cadets and 43.64 (SD=4.6) for male cadets. Cadets were further subdivided into low and high risk groups for the presence of depressive symptoms. We identified 57 (39 %) cadets with a total Zung crude score of 45 or above: 21 females and 36 males. Statistical analysis did not reveal any significant differences between the two groups based on gender, year of training, academic performance, alcohol consumption, smoking status, vitamin supplementation, dietary habits or BMI. Conclusions: We report a high prevalence of depressive symptoms in a cohort of military medicine cadets that underscores the need for effective screening and appropriate and timely interventions. We did not identify any related risk factors. Military medicine cadets are exposed to a challenging military and medical training environment, and thus represent a group at risk for development of depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number28
JournalMilitary Medical Research
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 10 2015

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Medical education
  • Medical students
  • Military medicine
  • Military training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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