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Sources of Stress and Coping Strategies among Undergraduate Medical Students Enrolled in a Problem-Based Learning Curriculum
Background: Medical education is rated as one of the most difficult trainings to endure. Throughout their undergraduate years, medical students face numerous stressors. Coping with these stressors requires access to a variety of resources, varying from personal strengths to social support. We aimed to explore the perceived stress, stressors, and coping strategies employed bymedical students studying in a problem-based learning curriculum. Methodology: This is a cross-sectional study of randomly selected medical students that explored demographics, perceived stress scale, sources of stress, and coping strategies. Results: Of the 378 medical students that participated in the study, males were 59.3% and females 40.7%. Nearly 53% of the students often felt stressed, and a third felt that they could not cope with stress. Over 82% found studying stressful and 64.3% were not sleeping well. Half of the students reported low self-esteem. Perceived stress scores were statistically significantly high for specific stressors of studying in general, worrying about future, interpersonal conflict, and having low self-esteem. Coping strategies that were statistically significantly applied more often were blaming oneself and being self-critical, seeking advice and help from others, and finding comfort in religion. Female students were more stressed than males but they employ more coping strategies as well. Conclusions: Stress is very common among medical students. Most of the stressors are from coursework and interpersonal relationships. Low self-esteem coupled with self-blame and self-criticism is quite common.
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