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Journal of Biomedical Education
Volume 2015, Article ID 575139, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/575139
Research Article

Sources of Stress and Coping Strategies among Undergraduate Medical Students Enrolled in a Problem-Based Learning Curriculum

1College of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh 11481, Saudi Arabia
2Department of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences and King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh 11481, Saudi Arabia
4Department of Medical Education, College of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh 11481, Saudi Arabia

Received 1 June 2015; Revised 1 September 2015; Accepted 8 September 2015

Academic Editor: Chandrashekhar T. Sreeramareddy

Copyright © 2015 Samira S. Bamuhair et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. Medical education is rated as one of the most difficult trainings to endure. Throughout their undergraduate years, medical students face numerous stressors. Coping with these stressors requires access to a variety of resources, varying from personal strengths to social support. We aimed to explore the perceived stress, stressors, and coping strategies employed by medical students studying in a problem-based learning curriculum. Methodology. This is a cross-sectional study of randomly selected medical students that explored demographics, perceived stress scale, sources of stress, and coping strategies. Results. Of the 378 medical students that participated in the study, males were 59.3% and females 40.7%. Nearly 53% of the students often felt stressed, and a third felt that they could not cope with stress. Over 82% found studying stressful and 64.3% were not sleeping well. Half of the students reported low self-esteem. Perceived stress scores were statistically significantly high for specific stressors of studying in general, worrying about future, interpersonal conflict, and having low self-esteem. Coping strategies that were statistically significantly applied more often were blaming oneself and being self-critical, seeking advice and help from others, and finding comfort in religion. Female students were more stressed than males but they employ more coping strategies as well. Conclusions. Stress is very common among medical students. Most of the stressors are from coursework and interpersonal relationships. Low self-esteem coupled with self-blame and self-criticism is quite common.