Research Article

Levels and sources of stress in medical students.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 292 doi: (Published 03 May 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;292:1177
  1. J Firth


    Levels of stress, as measured by the general health questionnaire, were assessed in 318 medical students in their fourth year at three British universities. Mean scores were higher than those in other groups within the general population, and the estimated prevalence of emotional disturbance was 31.2%, a proportion similar to that reported in medical students in the United States. There were no differences in prevalence or in mean scores of stress between the sexes. Twelve (4%) students reported high intake of alcohol, and almost half of the students had increased their intake in the past two years. The four categories most commonly cited in answers to an open ended question on recent stressful events were talking to psychiatric patients, effects on personal life, presenting cases, and dealing with death and suffering. Relationships with consultants raised the strongest negative feelings, with 102 (34%) students finding these particularly stressful. Stress among medical students should be acknowledged and attempts made to alleviate it.