Perceived Stress and Stressors among Undergraduate Medical Students of a Nigerian Institution

Ogochukwu Chinedum Okoye

Department of Internal Medicine, Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State, Nigeria

Correspondence: Ogochukwu Okoye;

To identity stressors and measure the intensity of stress perceived by clinical students in a Nigerian institution.
This study was a cross-sectional study of fifth and sixth-year medical students using the 40-item Medical Student Stressor Questionnaire (MSSQ). Students marked their responses to each of the 40 questions on a Likert scale ranging from-causing no stress at all (0) to causing severe stress (4)
The median stress scores for the six domains were as follows: Academic related stressor (ARS)- 2.1, Teaching and Learning related stress (TLRS)-1.29, Desire related stressors (DRS)- 1.00, Group activities related stressors (GARS)- 1.00, Social related stressor (SRS) – 0.83, and Interpersonal related stressor (IRS)- 0.57. Overall, ARS was perceived to cause high-level stress in 51.6%, and severe stress in 7.8% of students. Specifically, ‘Heavy workload’ and ‘large amount of content to be learnt’ caused severe stress in 45.3% and 40.6% of students respectively. Skipping meals was frequent and associated with high stress scores in IRS, SRS and GRS domains.
Academic related stressors cause high-severe stress among a considerable proportion of medical students studied, while interpersonal related stress caused mild stress. ‘Heavy workload’, ‘Tests/Examinations’, and ‘lack of time to review what has been learnt’ are some major stressors identified. Universities need to prioritise accessibility to healthy meals, improved students’ living environment, provision of psychological support and formal training on time management and other soft skills, to reduce stress and promote better academic performance. There may be a need to review medical students’ curriculum to prioritise relevance over breadth of content.

Keywords: Medical Student Stressor, academic related stress, Teacher and learning related stress

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