Background: It is usually observed that medical students undergo tremendous stress during various stages of the MBBS course. There is a high rate of suicide among them.
Methods: To determine incidence of stress and factors controlling stress in medical students at various stages of MBBS course at Seth G S Medical college, 238 students (First year 98, Second 76, Third 64) were asked to complete a questionnaire on personal data (gender, stay at hostel, mode of travel, time spent in travel every day, medium of study in school, place of school education.), Stress inducing factors, Zung's depression scale, ways of coping, stress relievers, perceived social support and personality type. Statistical tests used were ANOVA, critical ratio and Student's 't' test.
Results: Majority of medical students (175/238--73%) perceived stress. Stress was found to be significantly more in Second and Third MBBS students rather than First MBBS levels (p < 0.05). Stress was not found to differ significantly on the basis of sex, stay at hostel, model of travel, time spent in travel every day, medium of study in school, place of school education. Stress was found to be significantly more in students having more than 95% of marks at 12th Standard as compared to others. Academic factors were greater perceived cause of stress in medical students. There was no significant difference in the students at different levels of MBBS regarding academic factors and social factors as a stress inducing factors. Physical factors were found to be significantly more in Second and Third MBBS students as compared to First MBBS students. Emotional factors were found to be significantly more in First MBBS students as compared to Second & Third MBBS students. Stress was more common in medical students who have dominant strategy of coping as positive reappraisal, accepting responsibility and planful problem solving. Stress was less common in medical students at Seth G S Medical College who have dominant strategy of coping as escaping and distancing from difficult situation. Family and Friend as perceived social supports were more in Second MBBS than First MBBS medical students. Stress was not found to be significantly more in students having their personality factor contributing to stress (Type A--52/67) as compared to others (Type B--123/171). This indicates that the stress was not trait oriented but was process oriented (p = NS).
Conclusion: Stress in medical students is common and is process oriented. It is more in second and third year. Academic factors are greater perceived cause of stress in medical students at Seth G S medical college. Emotional factors are found to be significantly more in First MBBS. It is dependent on person's ways of coping and social support.