Background: Recently there is a growing concern about stress during undergraduate medical training. However, studies about the same are lacking from Pakistani medical schools. The objectives of our study were to assess perceived stress, sources of stress and their severity and to assess the determinants of stressed cases.
Methods: A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey was carried out among undergraduate medical students of CMH Lahore Medical College, Pakistan during January to March 2009. Perceived stress was assessed using the perceived stress scale. A 33-item questionnaire was used to assess sources of stress and their severity.
Results: The overall response rate was 80.5% (161 out of 200 students). The overall mean perceived stress was 30.84 (SD = 7.01) and was significantly higher among female students. By logistic regression analysis, stressed cases were associated with occurrence of psychosocial (OR 5.01, 95% CI 2.44-10.29) and academic related stressors (OR 3.17 95% CI 1.52-6.68). The most common sources of stress were related to academic and psychosocial concerns. 'High parental expectations', 'frequency of examinations', 'vastness of academic curriculum', 'sleeping difficulties', 'worrying about the future', 'loneliness', 'becoming a doctor', 'performance in periodic examinations' were the most frequently and severely occurring sources of stress. There was a negative but insignificant correlation between perceived stress and academic performance (r = -0.099, p > 0.05).
Conclusion: A higher level of perceived stress was reported by the students. The main stressors were related to academic and psychosocial domains. Further studies are required to test the association between stressed cases and gender, academic stressors and psychosocial stressors.