Prevalence of Subjective Health Complaints Among Medical Students, Khon Kaen University

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Tunyatorn Srisataporn
Tawee Ruamcharoenchai
Pavich Boonyapanichkul
Sawanee Srijaroentham
Rattawut Wiangnon
Waraporn Weeraphan
Amornrat Rattanasiri
Amorn Premgamone


Background and Objective : Subjective health complaints (SHC) include variety of subjective illnesses with few or no objective finding. SHC are common and increasing among  general population.  The prevalence among medical students in Thailand has not yet been studied. This study aims to determine the prevalence of SHC among medical students at Khon Kaen University and to identify the associated factors.

Methods : This study is  a descriptive study in the Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University. Population  are the first year to first to sixth-year medical students of Faculty of Medicine with the total of 1,350.  A sample of 299 was systematically randomized.The self-administered questionnaire—modified by the research team—had four sections: 1) Demograghic information; 2) SHC  in the past month; 3) Health behavior in the past month; and, 4) General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28). The outcomes were analyzed using SPSS/PC v.17, Epi Info for DOS v.6.0 and Epi Info for Windows.

Results : The response rate was 88.2% (262/299), males 51.5%.The incidence of SHCs was 82.1% (95%CI :77.06, 86.36), males 80.0% and females 84.3%. The two most reported complaints were “headache” (42.7%) and “Flu-like symptoms” (39.7%).  The most common report included pseudo-neurological complaints (62.2%)  and the musculoskeletal system (61.2%).  This study revealed a relationship between subjective health complaints of three or more symptoms and mental health status (Adjusted odd ratio , AOR) 2.05, 95%CI: 1.09, 3.88), sex (AOR 2.15, 95%CI: 1.24, 3.73) alcohol use (p=0.022), and eating within three hours of going to bed (p= 0.005)

Conclusion : Eighty two percent of medical students have SHC and the most commonly reported was headache.  The  significant factors related to such health complaints were:  sex (female),mental health status, alcohol use and eating within three hours of going to bed.

keywords : subjective health complaints, General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28)



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