Assessment of Perceived Stress in Postgraduate Medical Students during Training Programme CC01-CC04
Dr. Anuradha Rajiv Joshi,
Associate Professor, Department of Physiology, Bharati Vidyapeeth University Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India.
Introduction: Postgraduate (PG) training programme in medical field is a transitional period for PG students. They are expected to be able to present state of the art information for the decisions taken for treating the patients. It requires extraordinary time demand leading to physical exhaustion. Academic, professional and personal factors cause stress in day to day life. Sustained stress leads to increased rate of anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies. Many studies have been done to evaluate stress in undergraduate medical students but very few studies have been done in PG medical students in India.
Aim: To evaluate and compare stress amongst I and III year post graduate students by Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and by estimating the levels of salivary cortisol.
Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional observational study using self administered questionnaire. The study group consisted of 60 PG students (I year-30 students and III year-30 students). They were asked to complete a questionnaire which included personal data, academic problems, social support, and other stress inducing factors. Stress was measured by PSS score and estimation of salivary cortisol was done by ELISA. Salivary cortisol was analysed by unpaired t-test. Simple percentage analysis of PSS questionnaire was done.
Results: Analysis of salivary cortisol levels and PSS score amongst I and III year PG students was statistically significant (p<0.05) and salivary cortisol levels were positively correlated with PSS score. PSS score of I year PG students was moderate (17.46±2.09) which might be due to burden of the clinical ward work, getting exposed for first time to treat critically ill patients in emergency room, dealing with patients relatives in death situations and lack of time for friends and family. PSS score of III year PG students was more as compared to first year students (22.2±4.32), which might be due to additional burden of thesis work, lack of time to review what has been learnt, vast academic curriculum and worries about future. These effects affected their daily sleep duration, diet, interpersonal relations with colleagues and family members leading to increased stress. The mean salivary cortisol level was more (9.27±2.38ng/mL) in III year PG students than I year PG students (7.12±1.60 ng/mL).
Conclusion: This study explored that both I year and III year PG medical students are under moderate stress and PSS score is directly correlated with salivary cortisol levels.