Mental health and burnout during medical school: Longitudinal evolution and covariates.

Carrard, Valerie; Berney, Sylvie; Bourquin, Céline; Ranjbar, Setareh; Castelao, Enrique; Schlegel, Katja; Gaume, Jacques; Bart, Pierre-Alexandre; Schmid Mast, Marianne; Preisig, Martin; Berney, Alexandre (2024). Mental health and burnout during medical school: Longitudinal evolution and covariates. PLoS ONE, 19(4) Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0295100

journal.pone.0295100.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (511kB) | Preview


Medical students' rate of depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and burnout have been shown to be higher than those of the same-age general population. However, longitudinal studies spanning the whole course of medical school are scarce and present contradictory findings. This study aims to analyze the longitudinal evolution of mental health and burnout from the first to the last year of medical school using a wide range of indicators. Moreover, biopsychosocial covariates that can influence this evolution are explored.


In an open cohort study design, 3066 annual questionnaires were filled in by 1595 different students from the first to the sixth year of the Lausanne Medical School (Switzerland). Depression symptoms, suicidal ideation, anxiety symptoms, stress, and burnout were measured along with biopsychosocial covariates. The longitudinal evolution of mental health and burnout and the impact of covariates were modelled with linear mixed models.


Comparison to a same-aged general population sample shows that medical students reported significantly more depression symptoms and anxiety symptoms. Medical students' mental health improved during the course of the studies in terms of depression symptoms, suicidal ideation, and stress, although suicidal ideation increased again in the last year and anxiety symptoms remained stable. Conversely, the results regarding burnout globally showed a significant worsening from beginning to end of medical school. The covariates most strongly related to better mental health and less burnout were less emotion-focused coping, more social support, and more satisfaction with health.


Both improvement of mental health and worsening of burnout were observed during the course of medical school. This underlines that the beginning and the end of medical school bring specific challenges with the first years' stressors negatively impacting mental health and the last year's difficulties negatively impacting burnout.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Personality Psychology, Differential Psychology and Diagnostics

UniBE Contributor:

Schlegel, Katja


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education




Public Library of Science




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

17 Apr 2024 10:38

Last Modified:

18 Apr 2024 18:06

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback