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Medical students’ health behaviour and self-reported mental health status by their country of origin: a cross-sectional study

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Psychiatry, May 2016
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Medical students’ health behaviour and self-reported mental health status by their country of origin: a cross-sectional study
Published in
BMC Psychiatry, May 2016
DOI 10.1186/s12888-016-0884-8
Pubmed ID

András Terebessy, Edit Czeglédi, Bettina Claudia Balla, Ferenc Horváth, Péter Balázs


Numerous previous studies have investigated the lifestyle and self-perceived health status of medical students. This study examined whether students' country of origin contributed to their mental health and health risk behaviour. We conducted our cross-sectional questionnaire survey over four consecutive years (2009-2012). The target population was fourth-year English- and Hungarian-language course medical students at Semmelweis University, Hungary. We gathered data on medical students' health behaviour (tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, dietary habits and exercise) and mental health status and used analysis of variance (ANOVA) to examine the association between country of origin and mental health. The response rate was 76.1 % for the Hungarian and 63.4 % for the English course students. The mean age of our sample was 24.1 years (SD = 2.42). Only 15.3 % of students reported following dietary recommendations, but 75.0 % reported engaging in vigorous and regular physical exercise. The prevalence of tobacco smoking was 18.6 % and 13.8 % overconsumed alcoholic beverages. Hungarian and Iranian students reported lower mental well-being than Mediterranean, Israeli and Scandinavian students (F(4) = 18.943, p < 0.001, η(2) = 0.103). Results of the multiway ANOVA indicated that both country of origin and exercise showed a significant relationship with mental health: vigorous exercise was associated with better mental health status (F(1) = 5.505, p = 0.019). Medical students' mental health and health behaviour are associated with multiple factors. One of these is country of origin but exercise may also influence mental health. Health promotion programmes organised for medical students should take their country of origin into consideration and should include physical activity.

Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 171 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Colombia 1 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Unknown 169 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 30 18%
Student > Master 17 10%
Student > Ph. D. Student 12 7%
Researcher 10 6%
Student > Doctoral Student 8 5%
Other 32 19%
Unknown 62 36%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 33 19%
Psychology 15 9%
Nursing and Health Professions 11 6%
Social Sciences 10 6%
Sports and Recreations 10 6%
Other 18 11%
Unknown 74 43%