Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 288–296 | Cite as

Examining Burnout, Depression, and Attitudes Regarding Drug Use Among Lebanese Medical Students During the 4 Years of Medical School

  • Farid Talih
  • Michel Daher
  • Dayane Daou
  • Jean Ajaltouni
Empirical Report



This study aims to evaluate the prevalence of burnout, depressive symptoms, and anxiety symptoms and attitudes toward substance use in medical students as well as their evolution during the 4 years of medical school.


A cross-sectional study was carried out at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) between September and December 2016. In total, 176 out of 412 eligible medical students responded. The survey was anonymous and administered via e-mail link to an electronic form. The study included general socio-demographic questions and standardized validated tools to measure depressive symptomatology (PHQ-9), burnout (Burnout Measure), anxiety (GAD-7), alcohol use (AUDIT), and substance abuse (DAST-10) as well as questions pertaining to attitudes toward recreational substance use.


Overall, 23.8% of medical students reported depressive symptomatology, with 14.5% having suicidal ideations. Forty-three percent were found to have burnout. Those who screened positive for burnout were more likely to be males, to be living away from their parents, and to have experienced a stressful life event during the last year. With the exception of burnout, there was no significant difference in the prevalence of depression or anxiety among the 4 years of medical school. There was a significant difference in alcohol use, illicit substance use, and marijuana use during the four medical school years.


The results of this study show high rates of depression, burnout, and suicidal ideation among medical students from the Middle East region. Increased rates of substance use were detected as well as a more tolerant attitude toward substance use in general, specifically cannabis. It is crucial that medical educators and policymakers keep tackling the complex multifactorial mental health issues affecting medical students and design effective solutions and support systems.


Medical students Mental health Suicide Burnout Depression 



We would like to thank the medical students at the American University of Beirut (AUB) Faculty of Medicine for their participation in this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The AUB institutional review board (IRB) reviewed and approved all aspects of this study. The authors complied with all the recommendations of the IRB to maintain confidentiality and anonymity of the participants. All enrolled medical students at the AUBFM were invited to participate.

Ethical Considerations

The IRB committee at AUB approved this research project.


On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.American University of Beirut Medical CenterBeirutLebanon
  2. 2.American University of BeirutBeirutLebanon

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