Objectives: To examine health related quality of life (HRQOL), perceived stress, and coping skills in the 3 preclinical years of a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum.
Methods: Health-related quality of life, perceived stress, and coping strategies were measured using the Short Form-36, Perceived Stress Scale, and Brief COPE. Average annual scores were compared across curriculum years.
Results: Two hundred thirteen students enrolled in the study. Entering students had physical and mental HRQOL scores that were similar to age-adjusted US norms. Mental HRQOL scores were significantly lower and stress significantly higher during the second year of the PharmD curriculum compared to the first year (p < 0.05). Lower mental HRQOL scores were associated with increased stress and use of maladaptive coping skills in all years of the curriculum.
Conclusion: Increased stress and reduced mental HRQOL were observed across the first 3 years of a PharmD curriculum. Methods to reduce stress and/or use of maladaptive coping skills are needed to improve students' HRQOL throughout the pharmacy curriculum.
Keywords: Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL); coping strategies; stress.