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Measuring depression and anxiety in medical students: Is HADS an appropriate tool?

Marfell, Naomi Ruth 2019. Measuring depression and anxiety in medical students: Is HADS an appropriate tool? MPhil Thesis, Cardiff University.
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INTRODUCTION: There are a number of aspects of the medical course which may make medical students more prone to mental health problems. There is much evidence that suggests that medical students have high levels of common mental health problems, but research results are contradictory. This may be due to methodological differences. Tools validated for other populations may not be suitable for use with medical students. There is a need to accurately measure depression and anxiety in medical students to provide support. This study aimed to investigate the suitability of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) for measuring anxiety and depression in a medical student population by comparing HADS to a structured clinical interview. LITERATURE REVIEW: A review was carried out to review what tools have been used for measuring depression and anxiety in studies with students, medical students and the general population. METHODS: Medical students from Cardiff University were recruited. Students completed HADS and undertook a clinical interview using the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN). HADS data was compared to the SCAN data. Sensitivity, and specificity for HADS were calculated and optimal cut-offs ascertained. HADS and SCAN individual item responses were compared. RESULTS: 50 medical students were recruited. Three (6%) students met the ICD-10 diagnostic criteria for depressive disorder and four (8%) reached the threshold for generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) as determined by SCAN. In comparison, eight (16%) students had a HADS-D score of 8+ and 25 (50%) students had a HADS-A score of 8+ (indicative of caseness). A cut-off of 7 for HADS-D and 13 for HADS-A was calculated as more accurate in identifying ‘caseness’ within this population. CONCLUSIONS: HADS is an appropriate tool for a medical student cohort. The cut-off for ‘caseness’ for both subscales should be reviewed due to interpretation of some HADS items.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Medicine
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 January 2020
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 11:09

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