A Study of Psychological Distress in Two Cohorts of First-Year Medical Students that Underwent Different Admission Selection Processes

Medical Education Department, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia Health Campus, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia.
Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences 07/2012; 19(3):29-35.
Source: PubMed


Medical training is often regarded as a stressful period. Studies have previously found that 21.6%-50% of medical students experience significant psychological distress. The present study compared the prevalence and levels of psychological distress between 2 cohorts of first-year medical students that underwent different admission selection processes.
A comparative cross-sectional study was conducted by comparing 2 cohorts of first-year medical students; 1 group (cohort 1) was selected based purely on academic merit (2008/2009 cohort) and the other group (cohort 2) was selected based on academic merit, psychometric assessment, and interview performance (2009/2010 cohort). Their distress levels were measured by the General Health Questionnaire, and scores higher than 3 were considered indicative of significant psychological distress.
The prevalence (P = 0.003) and levels (P = 0.001) of psychological distress were significantly different between the 2 cohorts. Cohort 1 had 1.2-3.3 times higher risk of developing psychological distress compared to cohort 2 (P = 0.007).
Cohort 2 had better psychological health than cohort 1 and was less likely to develop psychological distress. This study provided evidence of a potential benefit of multimodal student selection based on academic merit, psychometric assessment, and interview performance. This selection process might identify medical students who will maintain better psychological health.

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Available from: Muhamad Saiful Bahri Yusoff, Dec 28, 2014