Associations of Suicidality with Adverse Life Events, Psychological Distress and Somatic Complaints in a Chinese Medical Student Sample

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The present study aimed to examine the associations of suicidality with psychological distress, somatic symptoms, and stressors in medical school students. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of medical students at a large, top-ranked medical school. A total sample of 662 medical students (269 men) completed a battery of self-reported questionnaire. Of the respondents, 136 (20.5%) reported having suicidal ideation, 40 (6.0%) reported having planned suicide, and 10 (1.5%) reported having attempted suicide during the previous year. Students from rural areas and the 3rd year of study reported higher levels of suicidal ideation than their counterparts. General pain/fatigue was associated with suicidal ideation and planning, while interpersonal difficulties were associated only with suicidal ideation. This study provides evidence linking severe psychological distress, general pain/fatigue, interpersonal stress and psychosocial factors with suicide risk among Chinese medical students which provides targets for future psychological interventions.

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We gratefully acknowledge the participants in this study. This work was supported by grants from Sichuan University (2014SCU11066).

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Correspondence to Jiuping Xu or Tao Li.

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This project was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of Sichuan University. The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional committees on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.

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Tang, W., Kang, Y., Xu, J. et al. Associations of Suicidality with Adverse Life Events, Psychological Distress and Somatic Complaints in a Chinese Medical Student Sample. Community Ment Health J (2020) doi:10.1007/s10597-019-00523-4

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  • Suicide
  • Psychological distress
  • Somatic symptoms
  • Medical students
  • Adverse life events