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The Global Prevalence of Anxiety Among Medical Students: A Meta-Analysis

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Department of Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119007, Singapore
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Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Huaibei Normal University, Huaibei 235000, China
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Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119007, Singapore
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Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
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Vietnam Young Physicians’ Association, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
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School of Education, Huaibei Normal University, Huaibei 235000, China
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Department of Psychological Medicine, National University Health System, Singapore 119007, Singapore
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Institute for Health Innovation and Technology (iHealthtech), National University of Singapore, Singapore 117599, Singapore
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Centre of Excellence in Behavioral Medicine, Nguyen Tat Thanh University (NTTU), Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(15), 2735; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16152735
Received: 10 July 2019 / Revised: 29 July 2019 / Accepted: 30 July 2019 / Published: 31 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adult Psychiatry)
Anxiety, although as common and arguably as debilitating as depression, has garnered less attention, and is often undetected and undertreated in the general population. Similarly, anxiety among medical students warrants greater attention due to its significant implications. We aimed to study the global prevalence of anxiety among medical students and the associated factors predisposing medical students to anxiety. In February 2019, we carried out a systematic search for cross-sectional studies that examined the prevalence of anxiety among medical students. We computed the aggregate prevalence and pooled odds ratio (OR) using the random-effects model and used meta-regression analyses to explore the sources of heterogeneity. We pooled and analyzed data from sixty-nine studies comprising 40,348 medical students. The global prevalence rate of anxiety among medical students was 33.8% (95% Confidence Interval: 29.2–38.7%). Anxiety was most prevalent among medical students from the Middle East and Asia. Subgroup analyses by gender and year of study found no statistically significant differences in the prevalence of anxiety. About one in three medical students globally have anxiety—a prevalence rate which is substantially higher than the general population. Administrators and leaders of medical schools should take the lead in destigmatizing mental illnesses and promoting help-seeking behaviors when students are stressed and anxious. Further research is needed to identify risk factors of anxiety unique to medical students. View Full-Text
Keywords: anxiety; anxious; medical students; student doctors; medical school; medical education; prevalence; meta-analysis; review anxiety; anxious; medical students; student doctors; medical school; medical education; prevalence; meta-analysis; review
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tian-Ci Quek, T.; Wai-San Tam, W.; X. Tran, B.; Zhang, M.; Zhang, Z.; Su-Hui Ho, C.; Chun-Man Ho, R. The Global Prevalence of Anxiety Among Medical Students: A Meta-Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2735.

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