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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 74-80

Stress and coping among final year medical students

1 Assistant Professor, Selection Grade, Department of Clinical Psychology, School of Allied Health Science, Manipal University, Manipal, India
2 Professor in Psychiatric Social Work, Department of Psychiatry, Dr AV Baliga Hospital, Udupi, India
3 Assistant Professor in Statistics, Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Manipal, India

Correspondence Address:
Sahana Madhyastha
Department of Clinical Psychology, School of Allied Health Sciences, Manipal University, Manipal-576104, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: Medical School is challenging as medical students have to confront varied stressors such as academic pressures, work over load, and issues pertaining to professional competence. Stress can be more during the final year of study as students have to deal with pressure of graduating and making career decisions. Efficient coping protects students against stress. Gender differences may exist in stress and coping. Aims: The present study aimed to examine stress, coping and gender differences in final year medical students. Prediction of stress by coping was also examined. Methods: This cross-sectional study consisted of 117 final year medical students from a medical college in coastal Karnataka. Professional Student Stress Survey to measure stress and Carver's Brief COPE to measure coping were administered. Results: An almost similar amount of mild and moderate degree of stress was experienced by majority of the sample. Academic performance and professional identity issues caused greater stress. Among the major coping approaches, problem coping was used more by the group. The coping subtypes frequently used were planning, active coping, acceptance, and self-distraction. There were no gender differences in stress. With regard to coping, females used more emotional coping strategies, specifically, self-blame and seeking emotional support. Venting, an emotional coping strategy repeatedly emerged as a positive predictor of overall stress and various stress domains. Avoidant coping also positively predicted over all stress and stress in two stress domains. Positive re-framing negatively predicted stress and religion positively predicted stress in two stress domains respectively. Conclusion: The findings point towards the crucial need for stress management programs in medical school. Though students used problem coping frequently, the evident role of maladaptive coping in increasing stress warrants the need for coping skills training. Research on effectiveness of such programs in India needs to be improved.

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