Author(s): Leyanna Susan George1, Arjun Balasubramanian2, Nimitha Paul3, K. Leelamoni4
BACKGROUND The medical course has been identified as being stressful owing to the demands posed by the curriculum, frequent examinations, length of the course, heavy workload and financial concerns. People have a characteristic way of coping with stress based on their personality and they choose appropriate strategies to cope with stressors they confront.
AIM, SETTING & DESIGN
To understand the perceived stress and coping mechanism used by the medical students of a private medical college in south India. Also, to determine the association between different socio-demographic factors and perceived stress levels.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
A cross-sectional study was carried out in a private medical college situated in Kerala. After obtaining informed consent, medical students belonging to the first, third, fifth and seventh semesters were selected randomly by lottery technique. A self-administered questionnaire proposed by John D and Catharine T MacArthur foundation and “Brief COPE” was used to assess the perceived stress levels and coping mechanisms respectively.
The data collected was tabulated using MS Excel and analysed using SPSS 20.0.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION
It was observed that nearly one third of the medical students were either moderately stressed (14.1%) or suffered from severe stress (15.5%). “Acceptance” was the method that was used a lot by the students. Students were then using active coping, instrumental support, positive reframing and planning as methods in medium amount. Self-distraction, self-blame, religion, use of emotional support, venting and substance use were some of the coping mechanisms that were used a little bit. Some of the coping mechanisms that were least used by students were humour, denial and behavioural disengagement. Therefore, peer counselling through students and faculty may be made accessible to all medical students in order to help them to cope with stress.