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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 237-243

The prevalence rate and associations of depressive symptoms and smoking among applied medical science students in a large university in Saudi Arabia: A cross-sectional study


1 King Saud University Chair for Medical Education Research and Development; Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Family Medicine, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan
4 Periodontics and Community Dentistry Department, College of Dentistry, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
5 King Saud University Chair for Medical Education Research and Development, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
6 Centre for Medical Education, National University of Singapore, Singapore
7 Family Medicine Department, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
8 Department of Pediatrics, King Saud Medical City, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
9 Public Health Department, College of Medicine, Al Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
10 Department of Educational Development and Research, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School of Health Professions Education, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
11 Department of Surgery, King Khalid University Hospital, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Farhana Irfan
Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, PO Box 2925, Riyadh 11461
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/JNSM.JNSM_68_18

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Background: Depression among health professional students is a topic of concern. Often, it is associated with other unhealthy habits such as smoking. This study aimed to find the prevalence rate of depressive symptoms and smoking among applied medical science (AMS) students and their associations with each other. Methodology: In this descriptive-analytic, cross-sectional study, a stratified proportionate sampling strategy was used to select the study sample from the AMS school students, Saudi Arabia, during the academic year 2012–2013. The students were screened for depressive symptoms and smoking status using Beck Depression Inventory (BDI II) and a sociodemographic form, which included the smoking status. Results: The instruments were administered to 461 AMS students, representing 27.6% of the total school students (1672). Overall, 46% of the total sample (43% of males and 48% of females) had depressive symptoms. The rate of smoking currently was 11.5%, and it was much lower among female students (2.2%) as compared to their male counterparts (20.3%). There was a higher mean BDI score among current smokers compared to nonsmokers (P = 0.049). This association was statistically significant among the female students (P = 0.029) but not among the male students (P = 0.072). Conclusion: The rate of depressive symptoms in this study is alarmingly high. The association between the presence of depressive symptoms and smoking is in line with the literature on this topic. A qualitative study in this population is recommended to explore students' perception of the factors associated with smoking, depression, and stress and their coping strategies.


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