Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Psychological Distress of Medical Students in Japan: Cross-sectional Survey Study.

Published on Feb 18, 2021in Journal of Medical Internet Research5.034
· DOI :10.2196/25232
Yoshito Nishimura5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Okayama University),
Kanako Ochi1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Okayama University)
+ 4 AuthorsFumio Otsuka35
Estimated H-index: 35
(Okayama University)
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected medical education. However, little data are available about medical students' distress during the pandemic. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to provide details on how medical students had been affected by the pandemic. METHODS: Cross-sectional study. 717 medical students participated in the web-based survey. The questions included how their mental status had changed before and after the Japanese nationwide state of emergency (SOE). RESULTS: 65.9% (473/717) participated in the study. 29.8% (141/473) reported concerns about the shift toward online education, mostly because they thought online education could have been ineffective compared with in-person learning. Participant's subjective mental health status significantly worsened after the SOE was lifted (p <.001). Those who had concerns about a shift toward online education had higher odds of having generalized anxiety and being depressed (OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.19 - 3.28), as did those who requested food aid and mental health care resources (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.16 - 3.44; OR 3.56, 95% CI 2.07 - 6.15, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Given our findings, the sudden shift to online education might have overwhelmed medical students. Thus, we recommend educators to inform learners that online learning is non-inferior to in-person learning, which could attenuate potential depression and anxiety.
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