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Revista Brasileira de Educação Médica

versão impressa ISSN 0100-5502versão On-line ISSN 1981-5271


LEAO, Andrea Mendes; GOMES, Ileana Pitombeira; FERREIRA, Marcelo José Monteiro  e  CAVALCANTI, Luciano Pamplona de Góes. Prevalence and Factors Associated with Depression and Anxiety among University Students in the Field of Health in a Large Urban Center in the Northeast of Brazil. Rev. Bras. Educ. Med. [online]. 2018, vol.42, n.4, pp.55-65. ISSN 1981-5271.


Despite the high levels of depression and anxiety, health professionals still have difficulties when dealing with these illnesses, particularly when they involve university students and professionals in the field of health.


To estimate the prevalence and the factors associated with depression and anxiety among university students in the field of health.


A transversal, analytical study involving students in the first year of a degree in health (biomedicine, nursing, physiotherapy, medicine and odontology) at a University Center in Ceará. Three questionnaires were applied. The first involved sociodemographic aspects, the second was the Beck Depression Inventory – BDI, and the third was the Beck Anxiety Inventory – BAI (both adapted and standardized for Brazil). The data were digitalized using the software Epi-info version 3.5.1, and analyzed in Stata 11.2. Bivariate analysis was performed for the associations between the variables by means of the Prevalence Ratio (PR), as well as their respective intervals of confidence, with a level of significance of p < 0.05. The project was approved by the REC, with CAAE number 1.132.140, of June 30, 2015.


476 students answered the questionnaires. The female sex was prevalent (71.6%), with the majority of students under 20 years of age (69.3%), and single (92.0%). The prevalence rates for depression and anxiety were 28.6% and 36.1%, respectively. Students who were less satisfied with the course had a four times higher likelihood of having depression (p < 0.001). Risk factors were highlighted, such as unsatisfactory family relationships (p < 0.001), lack of sleep (p=0.006), and unsatisfactory relationships with friends (p < 0.001). The prevalence of anxiety was more closely associated with the female sex (p < 0.001), and with unsatisfactory relationships with family members (p < 0.001), friends (p = 0.005) and colleagues (p < 0.001). Having insomnia (p < 0.001), not doing much physical activity (p = 0.040), and a higher concern about the future (p = 0.002) also presented significant association with anxiety status.


The significant prevalence of anxiety and depression among students in the field of health were much higher than among the general population, with physiotherapy students having the highest result.

Palavras-chave : KEY-WORDS –Depression; –Anxiety; –Health-Disease Process; –Mental Health.

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