[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address 54.166.48.3. Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
Article
November 4, 1988

Vicissitudes of Depressed Mood During Four Years of Medical School

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, Rush-Presbyterian—St Luke's Medical Center (Dr Clark), and the Department of Psychiatry, Northwestern University Medical School (Dr Zeldow), Chicago.

From the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, Rush-Presbyterian—St Luke's Medical Center (Dr Clark), and the Department of Psychiatry, Northwestern University Medical School (Dr Zeldow), Chicago.

JAMA. 1988;260(17):2521-2528. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410170069036
Abstract

We describe the vicissitudes of depressed mood for one medical school class that was assessed repeatedly over time, from the first day of medical school until several months short of graduation, using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Using an arbitrarily defined BDI cutoff point of 14 or greater, at least 12% of the class showed considerable depressive symptoms at any assessment during the first three years; the largest fraction (25%) was symptomatic near the end of the second year. The median class BDI score increased almost threefold during the first two years. Students were likely to be in a similar class ranking at all assessments, indicating that for many students dysphoric mood was enduring. Those with BDI scores of 21 or greater were more likely to quit medical school. Students with high scores for dysphoria were not more likely to evidence a family history of major depression or concomitant substance abuse. Women medical students were not more vulnerable to depressed mood than men.

(JAMA 1988;260:2521-2528)

×