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Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases ; 80(SUPPL 1):1448, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1358707


Background: Mental health was widely affected during the new coronavirus pandemic. In addition, some measures adopted by most countries in order to contain the virus spread, such as isolation and social distancing, leading to the interruption of routine activities, including partial or complete interruption of face-to-face classes may be associated with increased stress, depression and anxiety among undergraduate medical students (1). From March to September, 2020, the Brazilian Society of Rheumatology carried out the Mario Pinotti II Project (MPII), a prospective, multicenter, observational cohort study designed to monitor the COVID-19 in patients with rheumatic disease on hydroxychloroquine, using periodic telephone calls performed by undergraduate medical students (2). Objectives: To compare the mental health status of medical students who were participating from the MPII with theirs colleagues not involved in this project. Methods: A web-based survey via google forms platform was developed by a panel composed of undergraduate medical students, rheumatologists, medical school professors, and a psychology professor. It included details on demographic and life habits data and domains regarding depression, anxiety and stress, using the DASS-21 (Depression, Anxiety & Stress Scale), Brazilian version. Data collection occurred from July 20th to August 31st, 2020. Statistical analysis was performed using the SPSS version 20.0. Univariate and multivariate linear regression analysis were performed to verify associations with the DASS-21, defined as dependent variable. A p-value < 0.05 was deemed as significant. This study was approved by the Institutional Research Ethics Committee. Results: A total of 684 undergraduate medical students were included in this study, of whom 228 as MPII volunteers (VG) and 456 as control group (CG). Median age was 23 years (IQ 21-24) and the CG was older than the VG (p<0.03). Most of them were white (68.8%) and women (63%). There were no significant differences regarding comorbidities, ethnicity, smoking status, alcohol intake and physical activity. Older age, male gender, participation of MPII study, absence of a worsening in sleep pattern during the pandemic and a lower number of prior comorbidities were associated with lower DASS21 scores, suggesting a better mental health (Table 1). Conclusion: Several aspects may be involved with mental health, including increased emotional maturity, gender and sleep pattern. Although with marginal independent association, medical students with participation in the MPII study had better mental health than their student colleagues not engaged with this research. Our data pointed out that voluntary participation in a research project which foresees interaction by telephone contact with rheumatic patients, professors, rheumatologists, and colleagues is associated with better mental health.