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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

versão impressa ISSN 0034-7450


PINZON-AMADO, Alexander et al. Suicide Ideation Among Medical Students: Prevalence and Associated Factors. rev.colomb.psiquiatr. [online]. 2013, vol.42, suppl.1, pp.47-55. ISSN 0034-7450.

Introduction: It is well documented that physicians have higher rates of suicide than the general population. This risk tends to increase even from the beginning of undergraduate training in medicine. There are few studies evaluating the frequency of suicidal behaviors in undergraduate medical students, particularly in Latin America. Objective: To determine the lifetime prevalence and the variables associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in a sample of medical students from the city of Bucaramanga, Colombia. Materials and methods: An analytical cross-sectional observational study was conducted to determine the lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in a nonrandom sample of medical students enrolled in three medical schools in Bucaramanga. A self-administered questionnaire was voluntarily and anonymously answered by the participants. Validated versions of the CES-D and CAGE scales were used to assess the presence of depressive symptoms and problematic alcohol use, respectively. A multivariate logistic regression model was generated in order to adjust the estimates of variables associated with the outcome «suicidal ideation in life». Results: The study sample consisted of 963 medical students, of which 57% (n = 549) of the participants were women. The average age was 20.3 years (SD = 2.3 years). Having had at least one episode of serious suicidal ideation in their lifetime was reported by 15.7% (n = 149) of the students, with 5% (n = 47) of the students reported having made at least one suicide attempt. Having taken antidepressants during their medical training was reported by 13.9% (n = 131) of the students. The variables associated with the presence of suicidal ideation in the logistic regression model were: clinically significant depressive symptoms (OR: 6.9, 95% CI; 4.54-10.4), history of illicit psychoactive substance use (OR 2.8, 95% CI; 1.6-4.8), and perception of poor academic performance over the past year (OR: 2.2, 95% CI; 1.4-3.6). The logistic regression model correctly classified 85% of the subjects with a history of suicidal ideation. Conclusion: Suicidal ideation is a frequently occurring phenomenon in medical students. Medical schools need to establish screening procedures for early detection and intervention of students with emotional distress and suicide risk.

Palavras-chave : Suicide ideation; Suicide attempt; Medical students; Prevalence study.

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