Leo Sher, M.D.
A research report, “Who attempts suicide among medical students?” has been published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica online ahead of print (1). The goal of the study was to identify factors associated with suicide attempts in medical students.
The authors performed an exploratory analysis using an online survey of undergraduate medical students in Brazil. In all, 4,840 individuals were included in the study. Prevalence of suicide attempts in the sample was 8.94%. The mean age of suicide attempters and non-attempters was 21.6±3.42 and 21.8±3.23 years, respectively (p = 0.22). Most study participants were females: 80.09% of suicide attempters and 75.97% of non-attempters (p=0.06).
Female gender, homosexuality or bisexuality, low income, poor sleep, low quality of friendships, negative family relationships, current enrollment in the first four years of medical school (preclinical), repeating a class or entire year, bullying, thoughts about withdrawing from medical school, having sought psychiatric or psychological help during university enrollment, childhood or adult psychological trauma, a family history of suicide, daily tobacco use, and being at severe risk for alcohol abuse were risk factors associated with past suicide attempt.
The authors noted that the response rate for the first-year students was high which may reduce the generalizability of results for the later years. The authors suggest that future studies should investigate interactions between variables assessed in their study with regard to their relation to suicide attempts among medical students.
- Marcon G, Massaro Carneiro Monteiro G, Ballester P, Cassidy RM, Zimerman A, Brunoni AR, von Diemen L, Hauck S, Passos IC. Who attempts suicide among medical students? Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2019 Dec 3. doi: 10.1111/acps.13137. [Epub ahead of print]