Depression Coping Strategies among University Medical Students in Kenya

Chesire Irene J.; Adeli Scholastic M.; & Mbutitia Francisca N 


High prevalence of depression and depression symptoms among medical students has been reported in various studies. Coping strategies for depressive symptoms, however, is a phenomenon in which few studies in low income countries have addressed. This study, therefore, aimed to establish depression coping strategies and use of mental health services (Counselling and medical) among Kenyan university medical students. Through stratified random sampling, 312 students from two public universities were proportionately recruited with a further subsample of 20 students proportionately and randomly selected from the main sample to take part in the qualitative phase of the study. This mixed method research study, adopting a descriptive cross-sectional survey design used Biographical Form and a Structured Interview Schedule for data collection. Descriptive statistics was used to analyse lifetime prevalence, use of counselling and medical services. Descriptive and qualitative analysis were used to examine depression coping strategies. Results revealed that a minority of the medical students reported using counselling (8.9%) and medical (40.8%) services to manage depression. Majority reported seeking help from their peers (90%) and using alcohol (80%) and sports (50%). The study concluded that the lifetime depression prevalence rate is high and students use both functional and dysfunctional coping strategies to manage depressive symptoms. Medical education and mental health stakeholders, therefore, need to psycho-educate students on depression and functional coping strategies and augment targeted interventions including; enhancing peer education programmes, and de-stigmatising mental health services to improve their well-being.  


Key words: Coping strategies, Depression, Medical education, Medical students, Mental health services. 

Contact:Irene J. Chesire, Moi University, School of Health Sciences

To cite this article:Chesire Irene J.; Adeli Scholastic M.; & Mbutitia Francisca N (2018). Depression Coping Strategies among University Medical Students in Kenya., Journal of African Studies in Educational Management and Leadership  Vol. 10. pp 94-109


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  Available online Decmber 2018
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