Article

Students, stress and coping strategies: a case of Pakistani medical school.

Community Health Sciences Department, Aga Khan University (AKU) Karachi, Pakistan.
Education for Health 12/2004; 17(3):346-53. DOI: 10.1080/13576280400002585
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Assess the perception of stress amongst medical students and their coping strategies. METHODOLOGY/STUDY DESIGN: A cross sectional study using a semi-structured self administered questionnaire was carried out over four weeks, using a small sample of students of all categories and classes of a medical college.
A total of 264 students out of 300 (88%) filled in the questionnaire. Inability to cope, helplessness, increased psychological pressure, mental tension and too much workload are 'stress factors' for students. A considerable majority (> 90%) think that they have been stressed at one time or another. Ninety-four per cent of males have experienced stress. The senior students of the fourth and final year feel more stressed (95% and 98% respectively). Low moods, inability to concentrate, loss of temper are most common symptoms. Females report more symptoms. Academics and exams are the most powerful stressors. Sports, music, hanging out with friends, sleeping or going into isolation are various coping mechanisms. Stress can affect the academic performance. If needed, students prefer to talk to a peer. They demand more recreational activities on campus, revised schedule of academics and exams, better counselling facilities and improvement in student-teacher relationship.
The prevalence of perceived stress seems to be high among medical students, which tends to affect not only their academic performances but also all aspects of health. Review of academics and exam schedules, more leisure time activities, better interaction with the faculty and proper guidance, advisory services and peer counselling at the campus could do a lot to reduce the stress.

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