Are Medical Students Stressed Out?: A Study of Gender Differences and Coping in Undergraduates

Sawant NS, Mishra K


Introduction: Medical education is seemingly an endless sequence of demanding schedules and a vast course compacted in a short duration with an alarming increase in stress, depression and anxiety among medical students. A need to study gender differences in stress, response to stress and coping among the students was the aim of the study.

Methods: 303 medical students of the total 425 belonging to first, second and third year of the medical school responded to the specially prepared questionnaire. The level of stress was assessed with the help of the student life stress inventory and the coping strategies with the help of the brief cope inventory.

Results: The sample consisted of 150 males and 153 females which were analysed for group differences. Females exhibited higher levels of stress on areas of conflicts and pressures and were also more emotional than males in terms of physiological and emotional responses as reactions to the stressors. While females used more of self-blame as a coping strategy, males resorted to substance use.

Conclusion: Two-thirds of the medical students were stressed-out and though males and females showed similar responses, females were more emotional and could be at a risk for developing psychopathology.

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Medical students; Gender; Stress; Coping

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