Depression, Stigma, and Suicidal Ideation in Medical Students

Published in JAMA, the authors of the following study aimed to characterize the perceptions of depressed and non-depressed medical students regarding stigma associated with depression. A cross-sectional Web-based survey conducted in September-November 2009 among all students enrolled at the University of Michigan Medical School. Prevalence of moderate to severe depression was 14.3%. Women were more likely than men to have moderate to severe depression. Third- and fourth-year students were more likely than first- and second-year students to report suicidal ideation. Students with moderate to severe depression, compared with no to minimal depression, more frequently agreed that “if I were depressed, fellow medical students would respect my opinions less,” and that faculty members would view them as being unable to handle their responsibilities. Depressed medical students more frequently endorsed several depression stigma attitudes than non-depressed students. Stigma perceptions also differed by sex and class year.