Medical students face high levels of academic stress. Its early identification might prevent future mental health problems. The stressors may be perceived differently by students, depending on their family support, experience and coping skills.
Objective: To evaluate and compare perceived stress among preclinical vs paraclinical students and to find an association of perceived stress with socio demographic variables like age, sex, residency, medical family background and native state.
Methods: Observational cross-sectional study was conducted amongst 192 undergraduate medical students of 2nd and 5th semester between January-April 2020 at Subbaiah Medical College, Shivamogga. The response rate was 92.7%. Perceived stress scale (PSS 14) was used to assess stress level. Informed consent was taken and student’s personal details were kept confidential.
Results: By inclusion exclusion criteria 78 were male, 86 were female out of total 164 students with overall mean age 19.84± 0.90 years were included. There was statistically significant differences in mean stress levels as per PSS14 score between preclinical vs. paraclinical students and Kannadigas vs. non kannadigas group, students with or without medical family background. But there were no significant differences in group comparison across gender, residence and age stratified groups. The proportion of mild, moderate and severe stress was 61.6%, 36.6% 1.8% respectively. Distraction and humor were the frequent coping strategies reported.
Conclusion: In our study, though majority of the students were stressed, only 1.8 % were severely stressed. Preclinical, non-Karnataka students exhibited more stress levels than their counterparts.