Review Article

Prevalence of depression, anxiety and burnout in medical students at the University of Namibia

Nelao T. Mhata, Vuyokazi Ntlantsana, Andrew M. Tomita, Kissah Mwambene, Shamima Saloojee
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 29 | a2044 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v29i0.2044 | © 2023 Nelao T. Mhata, Vuyokazi Ntlantsana, Andrew M. Tomita, Kissah Mwambene, Shamima Saloojee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 January 2023 | Published: 31 May 2023

About the author(s)

Nelao T. Mhata, Discipline of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Vuyokazi Ntlantsana, Discipline of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Andrew M. Tomita, Discipline of Psychiatry, KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP), College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and Discipline of Psychiatry, Centre for Rural Health, School of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Kissah Mwambene, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia; and Mental Health Centre, Windhoek Central Hospital, Windhoek, Namibia
Shamima Saloojee, Discipline of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Abstract

Background: There is an increased prevalence of depression, anxiety, and burnout among medical students worldwide with no information from Namibia.

Aim: This study aimed to determine the prevalence and factors associated with depression, anxiety, and burnout among medical students at the University of Namibia (UNAM).

Methods: A quantitative descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted utilising a specially designed questionnaire for the study and standardised instruments to evaluate depression, anxiety, and burnout.

Results: Of the 229 students in this study, 71.6% were female and 28.4% were male. The prevalence of depression, anxiety, and burnout was 43.6%, 30.6%, and 36.2%, respectively. The prevalence of emotional exhaustion (EX), cynicism (CY), and professional efficacy (EF) was 68.1% (n = 156), 77.3% (n = 177) and 53.3% (n = 122), respectively. In the final regression model, participants with a current psychiatric illness were more likely to screen positive for depression (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 4.06, confidence interval [CI] 1.28–12.91; p = 0.02) and anxiety (aOR: 3.63, CI: 1.17–11.23; p = 0.03). Emotional exhaustion and cynicism were significantly associated with female gender (EX: aOR, 0.40, CI: 0.20–0.79; p = 0.01) (CY: aOR, 0.42, CI: 0.20–0.91; p = 0.03).

Conclusion: More than one in three medical students at the UNAM were either depressed or burnt out.

Contribution: This is the first study to highlight the mental health needs of medical students at the University of Namibia.


Keywords

anxiety; depression; burnout; medical students; Namibia.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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