J Clin Lab Anal. 2022 Sep 13:e24702. doi: 10.1002/jcla.24702. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: COVID-19 is a newly discovered infectious disease that spread and caused a global health problem. Medical students, especially those in clinical stages are among groups exposed to the disease. The study aimed to show the impact of social distancing on the mental health of Iraqi medical students.
METHOD: A convenient sampling technique involved 105 participants was obtained through a questionnaire. The participants were from all stages of College Of Medicine. Questions were regarding the mental health status of the students, which included sleeping hours, nightmares, eating habits, weight problems, relationship with the family, starting to have bad habits, memory loss, attention problems, irritability, and study rank affect.
RESULTS: Of about 105 participants, 64 (60.9%) of them were females and 41 (39.1%) were males. The mean age of the participants was (21.26 ± 1.065) ranging from 19 to 24 years. Feeling stressful when hearing news about COVID-19″ found in 82 (78.1%) of the participants. A high statistical significant difference (p = 0.035) among feeling isolated. About 77 (73.3%) of the participants had become easily irritable and angry. About 82 (78.1%) student started for having calculation problems. The stress with sleeping hours (p = 0.019), sleeping disturbance (p = 0.022), eating habit (p = 0.015), weight problems (p = 0.002), fear of familiar places (p = 0.004), recent memory loss (p = 0.034) and being easily irritable or angry (p = 0.0001), revealed a statistical significant association, respectively.
CONCLUSION: COVID-19 news and social distancing had made medical students more stressed and irritable, affecting their sleeping hours and pattern with a general tendency for weight gain and recent memory loss in stressful students.