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


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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    • "Some aspects of medical school may have unintended negative impact on the mental or emotional state of the students. The medical students experience stress and anxiety due to the rigorous academic and psychological pressure, examination, difficulty to cope, mental tension, helplessness, fear of failure and excessive work load (Shaikh, 2004). All this may lead to decreased life satisfaction or psychological problems among students. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: This paper focuses on an issue of a culture in which there is a growing trend of non-assertive behavior among females and they are anticipated to be nurturing, vulnerable and non-assertive. They are expected to look on to others to set up goals or decide for them rather than setting their own. The difficulties of academic life and inadequacies in the social skills experience by the female students play a significant role in development of psychological problems like anxiety. Assertive skills are required in the social, academic, professional and personal life of individuals. Therefore, when females join the academic institutions they are also prone to face the aforementioned problems.Method: A purposive sample of 100 female students enrolled in medical (n=50) and non-medical (n=50) colleges and universities (in Jeddah) were selected for the study. The purpose of the study was to explore the relationship between assertiveness and anxiety in, and group differences in, medical and non-medical students. This study also tends to investigate the levels of anxiety and assertiveness among such students. The data were collected through tow validated instruments, Rathus Assertiveness Schedule (RAS) and Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale (TMAS). A demographic sheet was utilized for the collection of demographic variables. Results: For the analysis of the results; frequencies, correlations, and t-tests were conducted using a statistical software SPSS ver. The results indicated that the severity range of assertiveness varies where some students are very non-assertive or shy and some are aggressive, whereas very few students showed a presence of well developed assertiveness. Similarly, the levels of anxiety levels varied among the students. A significant negative correlation was found between assertiveness and anxiety. The findings revealed that medical students have higher anxiety and lower assertiveness in comparison to non-medical students. Conclusion: The present study found varying levels of assertiveness and anxiety among the medical and non-medical students along with a strong negative correlation between assertiveness and anxiety. The problem of students should be addressed by educationists and the policy makers to enhance their social, psychological and professional abilities. The study findings support the need for training of assertive abilities to reduce anxiety among the students. © 2015, Mediterranean Center of Social and Educational Research. All rights reserved.
    Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences 05/2015; 6(3). DOI:10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n3s2p84
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    • "Some resort to avoidant coping; alcohol/drug abuse, denial and behavioral disengagement; while others cope actively through acceptance, planning, and positive reframing and taking the necessary steps to overcome the academic stress (Sreeramareddy et al., 2007). Other forms of coping mechanisms used by students include sports, music, hanging out with friends, sleeping, or going into isolation (Shaikh, et al., 2004). More specifically, male students use more active coping, positive reframing, planning, and accepting the stressor whereas female students use more emotion focused strategies like venting, self-blame, and behavioral disengagement (Davonport & Lane, 2006). "
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    • "Over half of the students in this study (58%) identified themselves as emotionally burdened. According current literature this percentage could reach 72% [29] or even 90% [30] in student population. It has been proved that being under stress increases the activity of the masticatory muscles, which consequently results in TMD [31]. "
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