This study evaluates a new stress management course for medical students offered through the Occupational Health Unit, Royal Free Hospital, London. It was offered to students in their first clinical year, which has been shown to be a highly stressful time. The course took place over 3 weeks, with one 2-hour session each week. Students completed questionnaires about mood, attitudes and causes of stress at the beginning of the year, and again one year later. The uptake of this optional course was 17%. Attendees, compared with non-attendees, were more anxious, less satisfied with themselves and their life, and perceived both work and outside functioning to be poorer. Over this first clinical year, non-attendees became significantly more dissatisfied at work and increasingly perceived their functioning at work and outside to be poorer whilst attendees showed no such deterioration over the year. Attendees completed the questionnaires before and after the course, and at two time points prior to starting the course when on the waiting list. Improvements in reported work functioning were found after the course, and this change was significant compared with the waiting list controls. These results are consistent with the attendees' own reports that they found the course helpful. These results show that stress management provides long-term protective effects as well as short-term benefits.