Perceived stress and fatigue among students in a doctor of chiropractic training program

J Chiropr Educ. 2017 Mar;31(1):8-13. doi: 10.7899/JCE-15-27. Epub 2016 Aug 23.


Objective: High levels of stress and fatigue are associated with decreased academic success, well-being, and quality of life. The objective of this research was to quantify levels of perceived stress and fatigue among chiropractic students to identify sources of and student coping mechanisms for perceived stress and fatigue and to identify the relationship between students' perceived stress and fatigue.

Methods: A survey comprised of the Perceived Stress Scale, the Undergraduate Sources of Stress Survey, and the Piper Fatigue Scale was administered to chiropractic students in their 2nd, 5th, and 8th trimesters of doctoral study. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics, 1-way analysis of variance, and linear correlation tests.

Results: Students reported having moderate to high levels of stress and fatigue, with higher levels of stress and fatigue seen in women than in men. A nonsignificant difference among stress scores and a significant difference among fatigue scores were observed based on program term. Levels of stress predicted levels of fatigue, and stress was strongly correlated with psychological health, relationships with family members, mood, and need for learning accommodations. Fatigue was strongly correlated with psychological health, academic demands, and conflicts between studies and other activities.

Conclusion: There are differences in the reporting of perceived stress and fatigue levels in this chiropractic student population based on gender. The correlation between fatigue and stress also suggests that measures that may alleviate one may likely affect the other.

Keywords: Chiropractic; Fatigue; Health Occupations; Stress, Psychological; Students.