Perceived stress among male medical students in Egypt and Saudi Arabia: effect of sociodemographic factors

Ann Saudi Med. 2008 Nov-Dec;28(6):442-8. doi: 10.5144/0256-4947.2008.442.


Background and objectives: In Arab countries, epidemiological data about psychological morbidity among medical undergraduate students are scarce. This study sought to determine whether there was a difference in perceived stress levels of male medical students at Mansoura University, Egypt, compared with male medical students at King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia.

Methods: The sample consisted of 304 male medical students in Egypt and and 284 male medical students in Saudi Arabia. The self-reported questionnaire covered four categories, including 15 items, on sources of stress (stressors). The perceived stress scale and hospital anxiety and depression scale were used to measure stress, anxiety and depression.

Results: There was no significant difference between the two groups in number of stressors. However, Egyptian students were more likely to cite relationship, academic and environmental problems than Saudis. The prevalence of high stress was nearly equal in both groups. However, anxiety and depression were significantly higher among Egyptian than Saudi students. A logistic regression analysis of independent predictors of severe stress among both groups combined revealed that a satisfactory family income and university-graduated father were independent protective factors. The independent risk predictors were anxiety and number of stressors.

Conclusions: Stress, anxiety and depression are frequent among medical students. Counseling and preventive mental health services should be an integral part of the routine clinical facilities caring for medical students.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Egypt
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Young Adult