Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Review Article

Quality of life in Brazilian medical students: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Carolina Kakiuthi Martins, Jonas Carneiro Cruz, Renata Dellalibera-Joviliano

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Medical training negatively impacts the quality of life of students. Assessing the well-being of medical students could guide academic policies and future research for improving the mental and physical health status of the population at risk. This study aimed to identify the influence of medical training on the quality of life of Brazilian medical students.

A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted according to the Cochrane criteria and reported in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses protocol (PRISMA). The search was performed by two independent investigators using a predefined protocol registered on the PROSPERO database (CRD42021237926). Data were extracted from PubMed, Embase, and Biblioteca Virtual de Saúde (BVS). For quantitative synthesis, a meta-analysis was conducted to assess the mean difference in the quality of life between medical students at different stages in the academic cycle, stratified by sex. All data were analyzed using the random-effects model, with a confidence interval of 95% (95%CI).

After evaluating the eligibility criteria, five studies were included in the meta-analysis. The data revealed that students in the pre-clinical cycle of the course exhibited higher quality of life scores in the physical (3.05 [1.48-4.62], p < 0.0001) and psychological (3.05 [0.80-5.30], p < 0.0001) domains than students in the clerkship cycle. No statistically significant differences were observed in the environmental (0.78 [-2.92-4.49], p = 0.68) or social domains (1.41 [-0.52-3.34], p = 0.15).

Our analysis revealed that the medical course is associated with decreased quality of life of medical students in the physical and psychological domains. This finding was observed in both men and women. However, these findings should be interpreted with caution given the study limitations. 


Medical students; quality of life; meta-analysis

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