Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 26-August-2011, Vol 124 No 1341
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Satisfaction with life and depression among medical students in Auckland, New Zealand
Chinthaka B Samaranayake, Antonio T Fernando
The aim of this study was to assess the satisfaction with life among undergraduate medical and other students in Auckland and identify associations with depression and anxiety disorders.
The study was conducted at The University of Auckland, New Zealand in 2008 and 2009. The sample population was derived from five undergraduate classes in four courses (medicine (two classes), nursing, health science and architecture). A battery of questionnaires including the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) for depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire (GAD) were administered to the cohort. Subgroup analysis between medical and other students were also carried out.
A total of 778 students were eligible, and 594 (76.4%) students (255 medical, 208 health science, 36 nursing and 95 architecture) completed the questionnaire. The median age was 20 years (range 17-45) and women represented 67.2% (n=399) of the total group. The mean SWLS score for the total group was 24.9 (SD 6.4), with medical students on average having higher satisfaction with life compared to other students. The rate of depression (PHQ ≥ 10) and anxiety (GAD score ≥ 8) among medical students was 16.9% (95% CI 12.2-21.5) and 13.7% (95%CI 9.5-18.0) respectively. Female students had higher rates of depression and anxiety compared to males. A statistically significant moderate correlation between SWLS score and PHQ score [r = -0.37 (p<0.001)] and SWLS score and GAD score [r = - 0.23 (p<0.001)] were also observed.
Medical students are more satisfied with life compared to other students. A significant proportion of students surveyed in this study have clinically significant depression and anxiety. Promoting positive wellbeing and improving satisfaction with life may enhance the quality of life as well as the social and academic performance of university students.
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