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Can Medical Students Recognize Depression? A Survey at the Zagreb School of Medicine



The objective of this study was to investigate medical students’ knowledge and attitudes towards depression.


Students attending their final year at Zagreb School of Medicine completed a set of standardized questionnaires, including attitudes towards psychiatric medication, attitudes towards depression, and personality inventory.


In total, 199 students completed the questionnaire (response rate 77 %). Most medical students were only partially able to correctly identify major symptoms of depression, but did suggest referral to mental health specialists as the most appropriate course of action. They recognized social and biological causes of depression. Degree of correct identification of symptoms of depression correlated positively with non-stigmatizing attitudes towards depression and negatively with stigmatizing attitudes towards depression.


Students’ attitudes toward depression may influence their recognition of symptoms of depression. Incorporation of these findings in development of undergraduate medical curricula may improve students’ recognition of depression.

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The authors have no conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence to Martina Rojnic Kuzman.

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Kuzman, M.R., Bosnjak, D., Vokal, P. et al. Can Medical Students Recognize Depression? A Survey at the Zagreb School of Medicine. Acad Psychiatry 38, 312–315 (2014).

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  • Medical students
  • Depression