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Perceived stress amongst medical and dental students

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Author(s): Harihar Chilukuri | Sowjanya Bachali | Nagaiah Jupalle Naidu | Ahmed Shaik Basha | Samuvel Verrapam Selvam

Journal: Andhra Pradesh Journal of Psychological Medicine
ISSN 2249-5851

Volume: 13;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 104;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Perceived stress | medical students | dental students

ABSTRACT
Background: Reports in the last decade have shown that healthcare students face a high degree of stress. Cumulative stress leads to depression and suicidal behaviour in some of them.Aims: This study was designed to identify levels of perceived stress amongst medical and dental students in a private institution of South India.Methods: A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey carried out on the first year undergraduate medical and dental students. Perceived stress was assessed using the Perceived Stress Scale. The students were given a questionnaire to be completed by them individually during January-February 2011.Results: A total of 234 students (144 medical and 90 dental students) were studied. The mean PSS score was 16.74(SD 5.99) for medical students and 18.23(SD 5.52) for dental students. While girls perceived greater stress amongst medical students, boys perceived greater stress amongst dental students though the difference did not reach statistical significance. Univariate analysis as well as Pearson's correlations identified interpersonal problems with their friends as well as their course load as the most significant stressors amongst the students.Conclusion: Levels of perceived stress are high in medical students and even higher in dental students. The most common sources of stress were related to academic and psychosocial concerns. Such students blamed reasons such as their course overload, pressure from teachers as well as parents, and problems related to their interpersonal issues.Key Messages: Perceived stress levels were found to be significantly higher amongst dental students than amongst medical students comparable to reports from other parts of the world. If monitored periodically during their student life, they can be helped to tackle their stress levels effectively and be saved from slipping into depressions.

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