Iberoamerican Journal of Medicine
Iberoamerican Journal of Medicine
Original article

Prevalence of depression among Libyan medical students

Prevalencia de depresión entre los estudiantes de medicina de Libia

Roba F. Sherif, Nagat M. Saeed, Gofran A. Sherif, Khiria S. Rabab, Fathi M. Sherif

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Introduction: Psychological stress is a common psychiatric disorder in medical students and sometimes is associated with depression. Students at university usually met a great pressure that they face in their study life and to the hard circumstances in the everyday life. The aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence of depression and stress among university medical students in Libya.
Materials and methods: Data was collected by three different questionnaires: the first questionnaire is 6-ITEM Kutcher Adolescent Depression Scale (KADS), the second questionnaire is Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) which are used to diagnose and to assess the severity of depression. The third questionnaire is a simplified self-scoring test for evaluating stress and tension levels. The three questionnaires have all been distributed to the medical sciences students at University of Tripoli in March and May, 2019. According to the registered students in the academic year, 2018/2019, the sample size was composed of 170 students.
Results: The major finding of screening revealed that 45% of the total students suffering from depression during their study. This high prevalence composed of mild and moderate type of depression among the students (45% and 25%, respectively). On the other hand, about 40% and 50% of the students have identified as mild and moderate stress, respectively. About 10% of the students have detected as severe stress.
Conclusions: This study indicates a high prevalence of mild and moderate depression among medical university students in Libya. Results suggest that university mental health services and programs addressing the students are highly recommended.


Anxiety; Depression; Libya; Medical students; Screening; Stress


Introducción: El estrés psicológico es un trastorno psiquiátrico común en los estudiantes de medicina y, en ocasiones, se asocia con la depresión. Los estudiantes universitarios suelen encontrarse con una gran presión a la que se enfrentan en su vida de estudio y ante las duras circunstancias de la vida cotidiana. El objetivo de este estudio es estimar la prevalencia de depresión y estrés entre estudiantes universitarios de medicina en Libia.
Materiales y métodos: Los datos se recopilaron mediante tres cuestionarios diferentes: el primer cuestionario es la Escala de depresión adolescente de Kutcher de 6 elementos (KADS), el segundo cuestionario es el Cuestionario de salud del paciente-9 (PHQ-9) que se utiliza para diagnosticar y evaluar la gravedad de depresión. El tercer cuestionario es una prueba de autoevaluación simplificada para evaluar los niveles de estrés y tensión. Los tres cuestionarios se han distribuido a los estudiantes de ciencias médicas de la Universidad de Trípoli en marzo y mayo de 2019. Según los estudiantes registrados en el año académico 2018/2019, el tamaño de la muestra estaba compuesto por 170 estudiantes.
Resultados: El principal hallazgo de la evaluación reveló que el 45% del total de estudiantes sufrían depresión durante su estudio. Esta alta prevalencia estaba compuesta por depresión de tipo leve y moderada entre los estudiantes (45% y 25%, respectivamente). Por otro lado, alrededor del 40% y 50% de los estudiantes se han identificado con estrés leve y moderado, respectivamente. Alrededor del 10% de los estudiantes han detectado un estrés severo.
Conclusiones: Este estudio indica una alta prevalencia de depresión leve y moderada entre los estudiantes universitarios de medicina en Libia. Los resultados sugieren que los servicios y programas universitarios de salud mental dirigidos a los estudiantes son altamente recomendados.

Palabras clave

Ansiedad; Depresión; Libia; Estudiantes de medicina; Rastreo; Estrés


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