Salud Mental

The COVID-19 pandemic’s risk factors for depression among postgraduate healthcare students

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Fernanda Rocha Anjos de Oliveira Souza
Vagner Ferreira do Nascimento
Mariano Martinez Espinosa
Sandra Cristina Pillon
Chris Wagstaff
Ana Cláudia Pereira Terças-Trettel

Abstract

Introduction. The pandemic has generated challenges which impact the mental health of the population, including postgraduate healthcare students.

Objective. To evaluate the factors associated with depression in postgraduate healthcare students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Method. This is a cross-sectional study with postgraduate healthcare students, with a sample of 117 participants. The data were collected through an online form, between September and November 2021, using semi-structured questionnaires with sociodemographic information and information regarding participants’ mental health, as defined by the DSM-5 Scale, where the depression domain was considered a variable for this study. The variables were tested using the Poisson multiple regression model with robust variance in the bivariate analysis between the dependent and independent variables (95% CI).

Results. In the bivariate analysis, there was an association between depression and not having a partner, also a low monthly income, studying for a master’s or professional doctorate and having an employment relationship parallel to the postgraduate course. Regarding the mental health of the participants, the following factors were associated with depression: anger, mania, anxiety, somatic symptoms, suicidal ideation, mental disorder, memory, repetitive thinking, dissociation, personality functioning, and substance use (p < .05). In the multiple analysis, it was found that mania, anxiety, and dissociation remained statistically associated with depression (p < .05).

Discussion and conclusion. Factors associated with depression in this population raise the importance of mental health promotion interventions for postgraduate healthcare students, who seek help both through mental health services and through their universities.
Keywords:
Mental health, depression, COVID-19 pandemic, students, postgraduate healthcare programs

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