Screening for Undetected Depression in Physician Assistant Students

Kenzie D. Cocke, David J. Klocko, Tiffany B. Kindratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The purpose of this article was to measure and compare depressive symptoms among physician assistant students during didactic and clinical phases. METHODS: Students (n = 123) completed the PHQ-9, and responses were scored in 2 ways (PHQ-2 and PHQ-9). First, submissions were deemed positive and assigned a severity if question 1 or 2 scored 3 or above (PHQ-2 method). Second, all submissions were summed and assigned a severity (PHQ-9 method). RESULTS: Using the PHQ-2 method, 8.13% of students screened positive; using the PHQ-9 method, 98.37% screened positive for at least minimal depression. Almost half (47.15%) of the students reported mild to severe depression. No statistically significant differences were observed in total scores between classes (P = .1849). Statistically significant differences were observed when we examined feeling tired with little energy (P = .0028) and trouble with sleeping (P = .0436). CONCLUSIONS: Implementing routine depression screening of trainees and restricting the number of clinical work hours could help combat increasing fatigue. Earlier intervention and resources for students struggling with depressive symptoms are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-121
Number of pages4
JournalThe journal of physician assistant education : the official journal of the Physician Assistant Education Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Medical Assisting and Transcription


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