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1.  Are Students’ Symptoms and Health Complaints Associated with Perceived Stress at University? Perspectives from the United Kingdom and Egypt 
This cross-sectional survey assessed and compared by country, the levels and correlates of 21 self-reported symptoms/health complaints. We examined the associations between self-reported symptoms and perceived stress. Data was collected from universities in the United Kingdom and Egypt (N = 3706 and 3271 undergraduates, respectively). A self-administered questionnaire assessed a range of self-reported symptoms, perceived stress, sociodemographic (gender, age, marital status, year of study, living arrangements during semester, income sufficiency), lifestyle (tobacco smoking, illicit drug/s use, alcohol consumption frequency), and health variables (subjective health status, health awareness, BMI), along with religiosity, and quality of life. Factor analysis categorized the 21 self-reported symptoms into four components. Correlation analysis and linear regression tested the associations between the self-reported symptoms and stress. Factor analysis of the health symptoms generated four symptom groups for each of the UK and Egypt (psychological; circulatory/breathing; gastrointestinal; and, pains/aches), and factor loadings were quite similar for both countries. Whilst the two samples showed similarities as to the kind of symptoms most frequently reported by students, the Egyptian sample had significantly higher frequency than the UK for every symptom. Frequent complaints (both countries) included difficulties to concentrate, fatigue, headaches, nervousness/anxiety, and back pain (UK) and mood swings (Egypt). Significantly more Egyptian students reported ≥4 symptoms over the past year than the UK. For each of the UK and Egypt, across each of the four symptom groups, there was a stepladder appearance whereby the frequency of symptoms increased with increasing quartiles of perceived stress. Not controlling for other variables, for both countries, there were significant positive correlations between each of the four symptom groups and stress; the highest correlation was for psychological symptoms. After controlling for sex, age country, and other symptom groups, stress was highly and significantly associated with psychological symptoms and also with pain & aches symptoms in both countries. UK students were generally less stressed than their counterparts in Egypt. Age and female gender were also associated with stress; the younger the student was the more likely to suffer from stress. Interactions were not significant. Across both countries, the levels of stress among students and the associations between perceived stress and health complaints suggest the need for a multiple approaches in order to understand the sources of stress; how college students experience stress; and, the coping mechanisms that different students employ to mitigate stress. Interventions aimed at both preventing, treating and caring for students’ distress, and also preventive strategies to help minimize the impact of stressful situations are required. Strategies that address both physical and psychological complaints may be beneficial for this population.
PMCID: PMC4210962  PMID: 25264677
psychosomatic symptoms; subjective health complaints; university students; UK; Egypt; college health
2.  A descriptive study of perceived stress among the North Indian nursing undergraduate students 
In recent years, there is a growing appreciation of the stresses involved in nursing training. It is important for nursing educators to know the prevalence of psychological distress and psychological well-being among nursing students. The present study aimed to assess perceived stress in the undergraduate students studying in a nursing college located in North India.
Materials and Methods:
The present cross-sectional study was carried out at College of Nursing, Maharishi Markandeshwar University, Haryana, in the month of August 2011 using pretested self-administered questionnaire. Perceived stress score was measured using perceived stress scale (PSS).
The mean perceived stress score of all 282 students was 28.67 (SD = 5.32), with a median of 26 (IQR = 22-34). Female students had more perceived stress score (31.33) than male students (26.01). The maximum mean perceived stress score (29.66) was observed in 2nd year students, and the least mean perceived stress score (26.28) was found in 3rd year students.
The present study indicates high levels of psychological disturbance among nursing undergraduate students in the middle phase of the course. Hence, there is an urgent need to take measures by the authorities to reduce stress among the nursing students.
PMCID: PMC3872872  PMID: 24403933
Nursing school; stress; students
3.  Stress among Mansoura (Egypt) baccalaureate nursing students 
Over the last years, details regarding levels of stress and sources of stress have emerged in studies of nursing students in Western population To date, there only few similar reports on clinical stress, anxiety, depression among the Arab population .This study was conducted to examine the level of perceived stress among baccalaureate Mansoura nursing students and to highlight the possible predicting factors.
In this cross- sectional study, Data were obtained from 373 students using a self-administered questionnaire, including questions on sociodemographics, list of possible stressors, perceived stress, physical wellbeing factors, anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Prevalence of high stress level, anxiety and depression were 40.2%, 46.6% and 27.9%, respectively. On average each student reported a mean of 4.6 stressors and academic pressures were the most frequent stressors .In regression analysis the number of stressors and global sickness index score were predictors of high stress level.
These findings call for introduction of stress management programs and psychiatric care into nursing health services of the University.
PMCID: PMC3201591  PMID: 22121435
Nursing students; stress; Depression; Anxiety; Arab culture; Egypt
4.  Association of Medical Students' Reports of Interactions with the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries and Medical School Policies and Characteristics: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(10):e1001743.
Aaron Kesselheim and colleagues compared US medical students' survey responses regarding pharmaceutical company interactions with the schools' AMSA PharmFree scorecard and Institute on Medicine as a Profession's (IMAP) scores.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Professional societies use metrics to evaluate medical schools' policies regarding interactions of students and faculty with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. We compared these metrics and determined which US medical schools' industry interaction policies were associated with student behaviors.
Methods and Findings
Using survey responses from a national sample of 1,610 US medical students, we compared their reported industry interactions with their schools' American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and average Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database score. We used hierarchical logistic regression models to determine the association between policies and students' gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation. We adjusted for year in training, medical school size, and level of US National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. We used LASSO regression models to identify specific policies associated with the outcomes. We found that IMAP and AMSA scores had similar median values (1.75 [interquartile range 1.50–2.00] versus 1.77 [1.50–2.18], adjusted to compare scores on the same scale). Scores on AMSA and IMAP shared policy dimensions were not closely correlated (gift policies, r = 0.28, 95% CI 0.11–0.44; marketing representative access policies, r = 0.51, 95% CI 0.36–0.63). Students from schools with the most stringent industry interaction policies were less likely to report receiving gifts (AMSA score, odds ratio [OR]: 0.37, 95% CI 0.19–0.72; IMAP score, OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.19–1.04) and less likely to interact with marketing representatives (AMSA score, OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.15–0.69; IMAP score, OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14–0.95) than students from schools with the lowest ranked policy scores. The association became nonsignificant when fully adjusted for NIH funding level, whereas adjusting for year of education, size of school, and publicly versus privately funded school did not alter the association. Policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus were associated with students reporting having not received gifts and having not interacted with marketing representatives. Policy dimensions reflecting the regulation of industry involvement in educational activities (e.g., continuing medical education, travel compensation, and scholarships) were associated with perceived separation between faculty and industry. The study is limited by potential for recall bias and the cross-sectional nature of the survey, as school curricula and industry interaction policies may have changed since the time of the survey administration and study analysis.
As medical schools review policies regulating medical students' industry interactions, limitations on receipt of gifts and meals and participation of faculty in speaking bureaus should be emphasized, and policy makers should pay greater attention to less research-intensive institutions.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Making and selling prescription drugs and medical devices is big business. To promote their products, pharmaceutical and medical device companies build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, by organizing educational meetings and sponsored events, and by giving gifts. Financial relationships begin early in physicians' careers, with companies providing textbooks and other gifts to first-year medical students. In medical school settings, manufacturers may help to inform trainees and physicians about developments in health care, but they also create the potential for harm to patients and health care systems. These interactions may, for example, reduce trainees' and trained physicians' skepticism about potentially misleading promotional claims and may encourage physicians to prescribe new medications, which are often more expensive than similar unbranded (generic) drugs and more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than older drugs. To address these and other concerns about the potential career-long effects of interactions between medical trainees and industry, many teaching hospitals and medical schools have introduced policies to limit such interactions. The development of these policies has been supported by expert professional groups and medical societies, some of which have created scales to evaluate the strength of the implemented industry interaction policies.
Why Was This Study Done?
The impact of policies designed to limit interactions between students and industry on student behavior is unclear, and it is not known which aspects of the policies are most predictive of student behavior. This information is needed to ensure that the policies are working and to identify ways to improve them. Here, the researchers investigate which medical school characteristics and which aspects of industry interaction policies are most predictive of students' reported behaviors and beliefs by comparing information collected in a national survey of US medical students with the strength of their schools' industry interaction policies measured on two scales—the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers compared information about reported gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and the perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation collected from 1,610 medical students at 121 US medical schools with AMSA and IMAP scores for the schools evaluated a year earlier. Students at schools with the highest ranked interaction policies based on the AMSA score were 63% less likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools. Students at the highest ranked schools based on the IMAP score were about half as likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools, although this finding was not statistically significant (it could be a chance finding). Similarly, students at the highest ranked schools were 70% less likely to interact with sales representatives as students at the lowest ranked schools. These associations became statistically nonsignificant after controlling for the amount of research funding each school received from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Policies limiting gifts, meals, and being a part of speaking bureaus (where companies pay speakers to present information about the drugs for dinners and other events) were associated with students' reports of receiving no gifts and of non-interaction with sales representatives. Finally, policies regulating industry involvement in educational activities were associated with the perceived separation between faculty and industry, which was regarded as adequate by most of the students at schools with such policies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that policies designed to limit industry interactions with medical students need to address multiple aspects of these interactions to achieve changes in the behavior and attitudes of trainees, but that policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus may be particularly important. These findings also suggest that the level of NIH funding plays an important role in students' self-reported behaviors and their perceptions of industry, possibly because institutions with greater NIH funding have the resources needed to implement effective policies. The accuracy of these findings may be limited by recall bias (students may have reported their experiences inaccurately), and by the possibility that industry interaction policies may have changed in the year that elapsed between policy grading and the student survey. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that limitations on gifts should be emphasized when academic medical centers refine their policies on interactions between medical students and industry and that particular attention should be paid to the design and implementation of policies that regulate industry interactions in institutions with lower levels of NIH funding.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice document, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Information about the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Just Medicine campaign (formerly the PharmFree campaign) and about the AMSA Scorecard is available
Information about the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and about its Conflicts of Interest Policy Database is also available
“Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide” is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that medical schools can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion
The US Institute of Medicine's report “Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice” recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The ALOSA Foundation provides evidence-based, non-industry-funded education about treating common conditions and using prescription drugs
PMCID: PMC4196737  PMID: 25314155
5.  Depressive symptoms and perceived burdens related to being a student: Survey in three European countries 
Despite a high prevalence of depressive symptoms among university students, few studies have examined how this mental health problem is associated with perceived stress and perceived burdens related to being a student.
We conducted a cross-sectional study of 2,103 first year students from one western (Germany), one central (Poland), and one south-eastern European country (Bulgaria). The self-administered questionnaires included the modified Beck Depression Inventory and Cohen's Perceived Stress Scale. A 13 item scale measured perceived burdens related to being a student with four subscales: "Course work", "Relationships", "Isolation", and "Future".
Depressive symptoms were highly prevalent in all three countries (M-BDI ≥35: 34% in Poland, 39% in Bulgaria, and 23% in Germany). Students felt more burdened by course work and bad job prospects ("Future") than by relationship problems or by feelings of isolation. The perceived burdens subscales "Future", "Relationship" and "Isolation" remained associated with depressive symptoms after adjusting for perceived stress, which displayed a strong association with depressive symptoms. The association between perceived stress and depressive symptoms differed by gender. These findings were similar in all three countries.
Perceived burdens related to studying are positively associated with higher depression scores among students, not only by mediation through perceived stress but also directly. While the strong association between perceived stress and depressive symptoms suggests the need for interventions that improve stress management, perceived burdens should also be addressed.
PMCID: PMC2483702  PMID: 18598340
6.  A comparison of course-related stressors in undergraduate problem-based learning (PBL) versus non-PBL medical programmes 
Medical students report high levels of stress related to their medical training as well as to other personal and financial factors. The aim of this study is to investigate whether there are differences in course-related stressors reported by medical students on undergraduate problem-based learning (PBL) and non-PBL programmes in the UK.
A cross-sectional study of second-year medical students in two UK medical schools (one PBL and one non-PBL programme) was conducted. A 16-question self-report questionnaire, derived from the Perceived Medical Student Stress Scale and the Higher Education Stress Inventory, was used to measure course-related stressors. Following univariate analysis of each stressor between groups, multivariate logistic regression was used to determine which stressors were the best predictors of each course type, while controlling for socio-demographic differences between the groups.
A total of 280 students responded. Compared to the non-PBL students (N = 197), the PBL students (N = 83) were significantly more likely to agree that: they did not know what the faculty expected of them (Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.38, p = 0.03); there were too many small group sessions facilitated only by students resulting in an unclear curriculum (OR = 0.04, p < 0.0001); and that there was a lack of opportunity to explore academic subjects of interest (OR = 0.40, p = 0.02). They were significantly more likely to disagree that: there was a lack of encouragement from teachers (OR = 3.11, p = 0.02); and that the medical course fostered a sense of anonymity and feelings of isolation amongst students (OR = 3.42, p = 0.008).
There are significant differences in the perceived course-related stressors affecting medical students on PBL and non-PBL programmes. Course designers and student support services should therefore tailor their work to minimise, or help students cope with, the specific stressors on each course type to ensure optimum learning and wellbeing among our future doctors.
PMCID: PMC2759915  PMID: 19747400
7.  Food consumption frequency and perceived stress and depressive symptoms among students in three European countries 
Nutrition Journal  2009;8:31.
Certain foods might be more frequently eaten under stress or when higher levels of depressive symptoms are experienced. We examined whether poor nutritional habits are associated with stress and depressive symptoms and whether the relationships differ by country and gender in a sample from three European countries collected as part of a Cross National Student Health Survey.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among first-year students in Germany (N = 696), Poland (N = 489) and Bulgaria (N = 654). Self-administered questionnaires included a 12-item food frequency questionnaire, Cohen's Perceived Stress Scale, and a modified Beck Depression Index. Linear regression analyses were conducted for two outcomes, perceived stress and depressive symptoms.
Food consumption frequencies differed by country and gender, as did depressive symptoms and perceived stress. For male students, none of the food consumption groups were associated with perceived stress or depressive symptoms. In females, perceived stress was associated with more frequent consumption of sweets/fast foods and less frequent consumption of fruits/vegetables. Additionally, depressive symptoms were associated with less frequent consumption of fruits/vegetables and meat.
Our data show consistent associations between unhealthy food consumption and depressive symptoms and perceived stress among female students from three European countries, but not among male students. This suggests that efforts to reduce depressive symptoms and stress among female students may also lead to the consumption of healthier foods and/or vice-versa.
PMCID: PMC2716364  PMID: 19604384
8.  Experienced stressors and coping strategies among Iranian nursing students 
BMC Nursing  2007;6:11.
College students are prone to stress due to the transitional nature of college life. High levels of stress are believed to affect students' health and academic functions. If the stress is not dealt with effectively, feelings of loneliness, nervousness, sleeplessness and worrying may result. Effective coping strategies facilitate the return to a balanced state, reducing the negative effects of stress.
This descriptive cross-sectional study was performed to determine sources of stress and coping strategies in nursing students studying at the Iran Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery. All undergraduate nursing students enrolled in years 1-4 during academic year 2004-2005 were included in this study, with a total of 366 questionnaires fully completed by the students. The Student Stress Survey and the Adolescent Coping Orientation for Problem Experiences Inventory (ACOPE) were used for data collection.
Most students reported "finding new friends" (76.2%), "working with people they did not know" (63.4%) as interpersonal sources of stress, "new responsibilities" (72.1%), "started college" (65.8%) as intrapersonal sources of stress more than others. The most frequent academic source of stress was "increased class workload" (66.9%) and the most frequent environmental sources of stress were being "placed in unfamiliar situations" (64.2%) and "waiting in long lines" (60.4%). Interpersonal and environmental sources of stress were reported more frequently than intrapersonal and academic sources. Mean interpersonal (P=0.04) and environmental (P=0.04) sources of stress were significantly greater in first year than in fourth year students. Among coping strategies in 12 areas, the family problem solving strategies, "trying to reason with parents and compromise" (73%) and "going along with family rules" (68%) were used "often or always" by most students. To cope with engaging in demanding activity, students often or always used "trying to figure out how to deal with problems" (66.4%) and "trying to improve themselves" (64.5%). The self-reliance strategy, "trying to make their own decisions" (62%); the social support strategies, "apologizing to people" (59.6%), "trying to help other people solve their problems" (56.3%), and "trying to keep up friendships or make new friends" (54.4%); the spiritual strategy, "praying" (65.8%); the seeking diversions strategy, "listening to music" (57.7%), the relaxing strategy "day dreaming" (52.5%), and the effort to "be close with someone cares about you" (50.5%) were each used "often or always" by a majority of students. Most students reported that the avoiding strategies "smoking" (93.7%) and "drinking beer or wine" (92.9%), the ventilating strategies "saying mean things to people" and "swearing" (85.8%), the professional support strategies "getting professional counseling" (74.6%) and "talking to a teacher or counselor" (67.2%) and the humorous strategy "joking and keeping a sense of humor" (51.9%) were used "seldom or never".
First year nursing students are exposed to a variety of stressors. Establishing a student support system during the first year and improving it throughout nursing school is necessary to equip nursing students with effective coping skills. Efforts should include counseling helpers and their teachers, strategies that can be called upon in these students' future nursing careers.
PMCID: PMC2203983  PMID: 17999772
9.  Coherent Learning: Creating High-level Performance and Cultural Empathy From Student to Expert 
Global Advances in Health and Medicine  2014;3(Suppl 1):BPA17.
Schools of nursing are charged with graduating nursing students who reflect the race and ethnicity of the communities they will serve. A college of nursing in Oklahoma received a grant to do just that for the Native American community in Oklahoma. In 1998, 19 Native American students were admitted to the school; only 12 graduated 2 years later. The rate of attrition for Native American nursing students averaged 57% between 1997 and 2001. The overall attrition rate was approximately 9%.
HeartMath trainers were identified and prepared in 2002 and implemented the program in the nursing college in 2003. The program was voluntary for the first year, then became part of new student orientation the next year. Trainings were offered monthly for students and faculty and were available to every student. Laboratory computers were equipped with the Freeze Frame program, and students could practice during school hours. Several faculty also did one-to-one training and practice with students in their offices at student request. Many faculty members did a short HearthMath session that any student could participate in before each test.
Although only Native American students are reported here, students from all ethnicities and races reported benefits. Following implementation of HeartMath in 2003, the average attrition rate for Native American nursing students between 2003 and 2008 was 37%. During this time, requirements for admission and graduation became more stringent and required increased testing. By 2006, the overall attrition rate for the school was 3% or less. The students reported increased confidence in their test-taking abilities and fewer physical health issues with regular practice of the HeartMath process. Based on test results for all students, it was determined that practicing HeartMath increased test scores by an average of 17 points, thus highly motivating students to practice.
Native American nursing students using the HeartMath stress-reducing processes demonstrated improved test-taking and perceived physical health and higher graduation rates than those who did not use HeartMath. Use of HeartMath while in school decreased the overall attrition rate by approximately 40% for Native American students over the reported timeframe.
PMCID: PMC3923294
Nursing educatioin; biofeedback; stress reduction; HeartMath
10.  Stress-induced immune-related diseases and health outcomes of pharmacy students: A pilot study 
Stress in health sciences students has been studied extensively. Nevertheless, only few studies have been conducted on pharmacy students and nothing was done to compare stress effects on the immune responses of Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) students. The aim of this pilot study was (1) to measure the self-reported perceived stresses, immune-related diseases and health outcomes of pharmacy and PharmD students, (2) to investigate the relationship between perceived stresses, health outcomes and immune-related diseases and (3) to compare stress induced changes in the health and immune system of pharmacy and PharmD students. The study represents a cross sectional survey using an interviewer administered questionnaire about stress and students’ health states during the fall semester of 2009/2010. At commence of this study, 222 of pharmacy and PharmD participant students (113 and 109 respectively) from the third and uppermost levels of study were picked up randomly. They were found to perceive stress related to program intensity, lack of exercise and social activities, bad nutritional routines and accommodation. Effects of increased study loads on students’ health and immune-related diseases were more pronounced on PharmD students, while showing significant changes on Pharmacy students. In general, more than 50% of students of each program got ill several times, mainly during the midterm period, had cold/flu, were under medical care and had problems in skin and/or hair. Also, PharmD students reported relatively higher levels of perceived stress and lower emotional and satisfaction quality of life compared to Pharmacy students. Results may help to increase the awareness of students to get prepared to what they might face, and may enable them to reduce the program’s negative effects.
PMCID: PMC3745082  PMID: 23960818
Stress; Immune-related; Health-outcomes; Pharmacy; PharmD; Students
11.  Sleep quality and its psychological correlates among university students in Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Psychiatry  2012;12:237.
Sleep is an important physiological process for humans. University students in most resource limited countries often report poor sleep quality due to changing social opportunities and increasing academic demands. However, sleep quality among university students has not been studied in Ethiopia. Thus, this study assessed sleep quality and its demographic and psychological correlates among university students.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in two universities in Ethiopia. Multistage sampling procedures were used to enroll 2,817 students into the study. A self-administered structured questionnaire including the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and selected modules of the World Health Organization STEPS instrument was used for the study. This research included 2,551 students. Frequency, median, mean with standard deviation and 95% confidence interval were used to characterize sleep quality and other variables. Analysis of variance and binary logistic regression procedures were also used.
The prevalence of poor sleep quality (total PSQI score > 5) was 55.8% (1,424). Female students (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 1.23; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.57), second year (AOR 2.91; 95% CI: 2.1, 4.02) and third year students (AOR 2.25; 95% CI 1.62, 3.12) had statistically significant higher odds of poor sleep quality. Perceived stress level and symptoms of depression and anxiety were strongly associated with sleep quality.
A substantial proportion of university students are affected by poor sleep quality. If our results are confirmed in prospective studies, health promotion and educational programs for students should emphasize the importance of sleep and mental health.
PMCID: PMC3554495  PMID: 23270533
Pittsburgh sleep quality index; Perceived stress; Anxiety; Depression; Students; Ethiopia
12.  Perceived Stress, Sources and Severity of Stress among medical undergraduates in a Pakistani Medical School 
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.
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC2820489  PMID: 20078853
13.  Prevalence and association of perceived stress, substance use and behavioral addictions: a cross-sectional study among university students in France, 2009–2011 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:724.
University students face multiple stressors such as academic overload, constant pressure to succeed, competition with peers as well as concerns about the future. Stress should not be considered on its own, but should be associated with potential risk behaviors leading to onset of substance use and related problems heightened during the university period. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of main substance use and behavioral addictions among students in higher education in France and to examine the relationship with perceived stress.
A self-administered questionnaire was filled out by university student volunteers from Upper Normandy (France) either by anonymous online questionnaire or by paper questionnaire. Data collected included socio-economic characteristics, Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), substance use (tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis) and hazardous behaviors: alcohol abuse problems, smoking, consumption of cannabis, eating disorders, and cyber addiction.
A total of 1876 students were included. Mean PSS score was 15.9 (standard deviation = 7.2). Highly stressed students (4th quartile) were compared with lesser stressed students (1st quartile). A positive relation was observed between female gender, regular smokers, alcohol abuse problems, risk of cyberaddiction and especially eating disorders (AOR = 5.45, 95% CI = 3.42-8.69), and increasing PSS score. PSS score however, was not significantly related to the curriculum, regular alcohol use, drunkenness or binge drinking even after additional controlling for use of other substances. We found a significant negative association between stress and practice of sport: students with the most physical activity were less likely to report perceived stress (4th quartile: AOR = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.39-0.80).
This cross-sectional study among university students in France revealed that perceived stress was associated not only with known risks such as alcohol misuse, but also with new risks such as eating disorders and cyber addiction. These results could help to develop preventive interventions focussing on these risk behaviors and subsequently improving stress coping capacity in this high-risk population.
PMCID: PMC3750571  PMID: 23919651
14.  First and Fourth-Year Student's Perceptions about Importance of Nursing Care Behaviors: Socialization toward Caring 
Journal of Caring Sciences  2014;3(2):93-101.
Introduction: The essence of professional nursing is caring and so, nursing education must make caring as a significant part of their curricula. In this regard, little research exists about how nursing students perceive caring. The aim of this study is to investigate the nursing students' perception toward caring and thus, the impact of socialization process on their perception of caring will be determined. Methods: A cross-sectional study was done among all first and fourth-year nursing students (n=230) in Tabriz and Urmia faculties of nursing, 2012. Data were collected using Larson's Caring Questionnaire that assessed the importance of nursing care behaviors (n=50) in six dimensions: "being accessible", "explains and facilitates", "comforts", "anticipates", "trusting relationship" and "monitors and follows through". Results: The importance of caring behaviors was evaluated by the first and fourth-year nursing students in moderate to high level and also, the both groups considered higher ranks for "monitors and follows through" and "being accessible" and lower ranks for "anticipates" and "trusting relationships". The fourth-year students only ranked "explains and facilitates" higher than the first-year students, but the "comforts" dimension is not differed significantly between groups. Conclusion: The findings demonstrated that nursing education in this study has not likely succeeded in producing intended changes in the nursing students' perceptions. It is recommended to exactly find the perceptual changes or in principle the professional socialization process of nursing students, more research using longitudinal designs be conducted to examine the differences in students' perceptions of caring upon entering and completing the nursing program.
PMCID: PMC4134170  PMID: 25276752
Socialization; Caring; Students; Nursing
15.  Cross-sectional study on the relationship between life events and mental health of secondary school students in Shanghai, China 
Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry  2012;24(3):162-171.
The relationship of demographic factors and negative life events to the mental health of mainland Chinese school students has not been fully explored.
Assess the prevalence of different types of life stressors among secondary school students and identify the demographic characteristics and types of life events that are most closely associated with perceived psychological difficulties in these students.
This cross-sectional study administered two self-completion questionnaires to a stratified random cluster sample of 1818 students from four secondary schools in two districts of Shanghai: the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and an abbreviated version of the Adolescent Self-rating Life Events Checklist (ASLEC) that assesses 11 negative life events.
Academic stress (74%), criticism from others (66%), family conflict (29%) and peer bullying & discrimination or interpersonal conflict (26%) were the most frequently reported negative life events, but their prevalence varied significantly by gender, type of school and urban versus rural residence. Similarly the level of reported psychological stress associated with life events, the total perceived psychological difficulty, and the level of pro-social behavior in the students varied significantly between different groups of students. Multivariate linear regression analysis identified the following independent predictors of high perceived psychological difficulty in the prior 6 months (in order of importance): high total stress score from negative life events in the prior year, experiencing peer bullying & discrimination or interpersonal conflict, not experiencing the death of a family member, male gender, attending a school in a rural district, and not suffering from a major disease or physical impairment. The independent predictors of a high level of pro-social behavior were high total stress score from negative life events, attending an urban school, female gender, attending a regular-tier school (vs. a high-tier school), experiencing peer bullying & discrimination or interpersonal conflict, not experiencing the death of a family member, and attending a middle school (vs. a high school).
Negative life events are one of many factors associated with perceived stress and level of pro-social behavior in secondary school students. Prospective studies are needed to clarify the causal pathways that connect stress with negative life events in students and to develop and test cohort-specific interventions aimed at decreasing stress and increasing pro-social behaviors.
PMCID: PMC4198848  PMID: 25324621
16.  The experience of international nursing students studying for a PhD in the U.K: A qualitative study 
BMC Nursing  2011;10:11.
Educating nurses to doctoral level is an important means of developing nursing capacity globally. There is an international shortage of doctoral nursing programmes, hence many nurses seek their doctorates overseas. The UK is a key provider of doctoral education for international nursing students, however, very little is known about international doctoral nursing students' learning experiences during their doctoral study. This paper reports on a national study that sought to investigate the learning expectations and experiences of overseas doctoral nursing students in the UK.
Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted in 2008/09 with 17 international doctoral nursing students representing 9 different countries from 6 different UK universities. Data were analysed thematically. All 17 interviewees were enrolled on 'traditional' 3 year PhD programmes and the majority (15/17) planned to work in higher education institutions back in their home country upon graduation.
Studying for a UK PhD involved a number of significant transitions, including adjusting to a new country/culture, to new pedagogical approaches and, in some cases, to learning in a second language. Many students had expected a more structured programme of study, with a stronger emphasis on professional nursing issues as well as research - akin to the professional doctorate. Students did not always feel well integrated into their department's wider research environment, and wanted more opportunities to network with their UK peers. A good supervision relationship was perceived as the most critical element of support in a doctoral programme, but good relationships were sometimes difficult to attain due to differences in student/supervisor expectations and in approaches to supervision. The PhD was perceived as a difficult and stressful journey, but those nearing the end reflected positively on it as a life changing experience in which they had developed key professional and personal skills.
Doctoral programmes need to ensure that structures are in place to support international students at different stages of their doctoral journey, and to support greater local-international student networking. Further research is needed to investigate good supervision practice and the suitability of the PhD vis a vis other doctoral models (e.g. the professional doctorate) for international nursing students.
PMCID: PMC3126772  PMID: 21668951
17.  Mental health status among Burmese adolescent students living in boarding houses in Thailand: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:337.
In Tak province of Thailand, a number of adolescent students who migrated from Burma have resided in the boarding houses of migrant schools. This study investigated mental health status and its relationship with perceived social support among such students.
This cross-sectional study surveyed 428 students, aged 12–18 years, who lived in boarding houses. The Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL)-37 A, Stressful Life Events (SLE) and Reactions of Adolescents to Traumatic Stress (RATS) questionnaires were used to assess participants’ mental health status and experience of traumatic events. The Medical Outcome Study (MOS) Social Support Survey Scale was used to measure their perceived level of social support. Descriptive analysis was conducted to examine the distribution of sociodemographic characteristics, trauma experiences, and mental health status. Further, multivariate linear regression analysis was used to examine the association between such characteristics and participants’ mental health status.
In total, 771 students were invited to participate in the study and 428 students chose to take part. Of these students, 304 completed the questionnaire. A large proportion (62.8%) indicated that both of their parents lived in Myanmar, while only 11.8% answered that both of their parents lived in Thailand. The mean total number of traumatic events experienced was 5.7 (standard deviation [SD] 2.9), mean total score on the HSCL-37A was 63.1 (SD 11.4), and mean total score on the RATS was 41.4 (SD 9.9). Multivariate linear regression analysis revealed that higher number of traumatic events was associated with more mental health problems.
Many students residing in boarding houses suffered from poor mental health in Thailand’s Tak province. The number of traumatic experiences reported was higher than expected. Furthermore, these traumatic experiences were associated with poorer mental health status. Rather than making a generalized assumption on the mental health status of migrants or refugees, more detailed observation is necessary to elucidate the unique nature and vulnerabilities of this mobile population.
PMCID: PMC3636114  PMID: 23587014
18.  Stress among Isfahan medical sciences students 
This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of psychological stress among Isfahan medical sciences students.
Cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey was carried out among the 387 medical sciences students (medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry) of Isfahan, Iran through census. In academic year 2010-2011, Kessler-10 questionnaire was given to the students a month before semester examinations. Scores ≥20 were considered as indicative of positive stress symptoms.
The overall prevalence of stress among medical sciences students was found to be about 76.1%. The prevalence of stress among medicine students was 22.7% mild, 23% moderate and 21.4% severe while 32.8% showed no stress. The prevalence of stress among pharmacy students was 22.22%, 22.22%, 26.19%, and 29.36% mild, moderate, and severe and no stress, respectively. The prevalence of stress among dentistry students was 25% mild, 27% moderate, and 10% severe while 37.5% showed no stress. The prevalence of stress was higher (70.6%) in pharmacy students when compared with medicine (66.1%) and dentistry (62.5%) students. The odds of student having stress is higher in dentistry students (OR: 1.44, P= 0.33), where as the odds are decreasing in pharmacy student (OR: 1.16, P=0.66). There is no statistically significant association between gender, ages, and term and having stress symptoms.
The high level of stress necessitates interventions like social and psychological support to improve the student's well-being. A prospective study is needed to study the association of psychological morbidity with sources of stress and coping strategies.
PMCID: PMC3526138  PMID: 23267406
Isfahan; Kessler; medical sciences students; stress; student support
19.  Personality traits predict job stress, depression and anxiety among junior physicians 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:150.
High levels of stress and deteriorating mental health among medical students are commonly reported. In Bergen, Norway, we explored the impact of personality traits measured early in their curriculum on stress reactions and levels of depression and anxiety symptoms as junior physicians following graduation.
Medical students (n = 201) from two classes participated in a study on personality traits and mental health early in the curriculum. A questionnaire measuring personality traits (Basic Character Inventory (BCI)) was used during their third undergraduate year. BCI assesses four personality traits: neuroticism, extroversion, conscientiousness and reality weakness. Questionnaires measuring mental health (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Symptom Checklist 25 (SCL-25)), and stress (Perceived Medical School Stress (PMSS)) were used during their third and sixth undergraduate year. During postgraduate internship, Cooper’s Job Stress Questionnaire (CJSQ) was used to measure perceived job stress, while mental health and stress reactions were reassessed using HADS and SCL-25.
Extroversion had the highest mean value (5.11) among the total group of participants, while reality weakness had the lowest (1.51). Neuroticism and reality weakness were related to high levels of perceived job stress (neuroticism r = .19, reality weakness r = .17) as well as higher levels of anxiety symptoms (neuroticism r = .23, reality weakness r = .33) and symptoms of depression (neuroticism r = .21, reality weakness r = .36) during internship. Neuroticism indirectly predicted stress reactions and levels of depression and anxiety symptoms. These relations were mediated by perceived job stress, while reality weakness predicted these mental health measures directly. Extroversion, on the other hand, protected against symptoms of depression (r = −.20). Furthermore, females reported higher levels of job stress than males (difference = 7.52).
Certain personality traits measured early in the course of medical school relates to mental health status as junior physicians during postgraduate internship training. This relation is mediated by high levels of perceived job stress.
PMCID: PMC3842670  PMID: 24207064
Junior physicians; Personality; Intervention studies; Medical students; Longitudinal study; Male; Female; Undergraduate medical education; Anxiety; Depression; Stress
20.  Mental Health of Muslim Nursing Students in Thailand 
ISRN Nursing  2012;2012:463471.
The purpose of this research was to explore the mental health and well-being of Muslim nursing students in Thailand. Specifically, the study investigated the factors that impact anxiety and depression among Muslim nursing students. This cross-sectional research was conducted with a half sampling method of Muslim undergraduate students who were studying at a public nursing college in Thailand. From the 220 self-identified Muslim nursing students, 110 were sampled for this study, representing 14% of the total nursing students at this college. Results indicated a moderate prevalence of anxiety and high prevalence of depression among Muslim nursing students. Stress (β = .42) was positively associated with anxiety, while self-esteem (β = -.42) was negatively associated with anxiety; together this model accounted for 46% of the variance in anxiety. Self-esteem (β = -.41) and social support (β = -.17) were negatively associated with depression, while stress (β = .37) was positively correlated with depression; together this model accounted for 57% of the variance in depression. Recommendations were given to help train Muslim nursing students to be competent nurses with good mental health and well-being who will succeed and contribute to the nursing profession.
PMCID: PMC3389714  PMID: 22792481
21.  Coping flexibility in college students with depressive symptoms 
The current study explored the prevalence of depressed mood among Chinese undergraduate students and examined the coping patterns and degree of flexibility of flexibility of such patterns associated with such mood.
A set of questionnaire assessing coping patterns, coping flexibility, and depressive symptoms were administered to 428 students (234 men and 194 women).
A total of 266 participants both completed the entire set of questionnaires and reported a frequency of two or more stressful life events (the criterion needed to calculate variance in perceived controllability). Findings showed that higher levels of depressive symptoms were significantly associated with higher levels of both event frequency (r = .368, p < .001) and event impact (r = .245, p < .001) and lower levels of perceived controllability (r = -.261, p < .001), coping effectiveness (r = -.375, p < .001), and ratio of strategy to situation fit (r = -.108, p < .05). Depressive symptoms were not significantly associated with cognitive flexibility (variance of perceived controllability; r = .031, p = .527), Gender was not a significant moderator of any of the reported associations.
Findings indicate that Chinese university students with depressive symptoms reported experiencing a greater number of negative events than did non-depressed university students. In addition, undergraduates with depressive symptoms were more likely than other undergraduates to utilize maladaptive coping methods. Such findings highlight the potential importance of interventions aimed at helping undergraduate students with a lower coping flexibility develop skills to cope with stressful life events.
PMCID: PMC2911409  PMID: 20626865
22.  Stress and Its Effects on Medical Students: A Cross-sectional Study at a College of Medicine in Saudi Arabia 
Medical education is perceived as being stressful, and a high level of stress may have a negative effect on cognitive functioning and learning of students in a medical school. This cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of stress among medical students and to observe an association between the levels of stress and their academic performance, including the sources of their stress. All the medical students from year one to year five levels from the College of Medicine, King Saud University, were enrolled in the study. The study was conducted using Kessler10 psychological distress (K10) inventory, which measures the level of stress according to none, mild, moderate, and severe categories. The prevalence of stress was measured and compared with the five study variables, such as gender, academic year, academic grades, regularity to course attendance, and perceived physical problems. The response rate among the study subjects was 87% (n=892). The total prevalence of stress was 63%, and the prevalence of severe stress was 25%. The prevalence of stress was higher (p<0.5) among females (75.7%) than among males (57%) (odds ratio=2.3, χ2=27.2, p<0.0001). The stress significantly decreased as the year of study increased, except for the final year. The study variables, including being female (p<0.0001), year of study (p<0.001), and presence of perceived physical problems (p<0.0001), were found as independent significant risk factors for the outcome variables of stress. Students' grade point average (academic score) or regularity to attend classes was not significantly associated with the stress level. The prevalence of stress was higher during the initial three years of study and among the female students. Physical problems are associated with high stress levels. Preventive mental health services, therefore, could be made an integral part of routine clinical services for medical students, especially in the initial academic years, to prevent such occurrence.
PMCID: PMC3225114  PMID: 22106758
Academic achievements; Cross-sectional studies; Impact studies; Medical education; Stress; Saudi Arabia
23.  The association between stressful life events and depressive symptoms among Cypriot university students: a cross-sectional descriptive correlational study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1121.
Previous findings suggest that stressful life events have a causal relationship with depressive symptoms. However, to date little is known concerning the contribution of the number and severity of recent stressful life events on the prevalence of depressive symptoms among university students. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of depressive symptoms and its association with the number and the severity of self-reported stressful life events among university students in Cyprus.
A descriptive correlational design with cross sectional comparison was used. The CES-D scale was applied for the assessment of depressive symptoms and the LESS instrument for stressful life events. Both scales were completed anonymously and voluntarily by 1.500 students (response rate 85%).
The prevalence of mild to moderate depressive symptoms [CES-D score between 16 and 21] and of clinically significant depressive symptoms [CES-D score ≥ 22] were 18.8% and 25.3% respectively. There were statistically significant differences in clinically significant depressive symptoms by gender, with higher rates among women (x2 = 8.53, df = 1, p = 0.003). Higher scores on the LESS scale were associated with more frequent reports of clinical depressive symptoms (x2 = 70.63, df = 4, p < 0.001). Similarly, an association was found between the number of life events and clinical depressive symptoms (x2 = 40.06, df = 4, p < 0.001). Logistic regression analysis after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics confirmed that the responders who reported a high number (n = 12–21) of stressful life events during the previous year (OR = 2.64 95% CI: 1.02, 6.83) and a severe degree of stress due to these events (total LESS score > 351, OR = 3.03 95% CI: 1.66, 5.39) were more likely to manifest clinical depressive symptoms.
The high frequency of occurrence of depressive symptoms among Cypriot university students, as well as the strong association with stressful life events, highlights the need for psychological empowerment strategies towards students by institutional counseling services.
PMCID: PMC3866572  PMID: 24304515
Center for epidemiology studies (CES-D); Depression; Life events scale for students (LESS); Stressful life events; Cypriot university students
24.  Attitudes of medical students towards incentives offered by pharmaceutical companies- perspective from a developing nation- a cross sectional study 
BMC Medical Ethics  2014;15:36.
A training physician has his first interaction with a pharmaceutical representative during medical school. Medical students are often provided with small gifts such as pens, calendars and books, as well as free lunches as part of drug promotion offers. Ethical impact of these transactions as perceived by young medical students has not been investigated in Pakistan before. This study aimed to assess the association of socio-demographic variables with the attitudes of medical students towards pharmaceutical companies and their incentives.
As part of a cross-sectional survey, a validated questionnaire previously used for assessing attitude of medical students towards pharmaceutical industry, was modified, pre-tested and distributed among consenting clinical year students at DUHS and AKU. Questions included acceptability of pharmaceutically sponsored gifts, events and tuition fee, and their impact on future prescription. Responses were graded as agree, disagree or neutral which were then scored according to the AMSA guidelines of ethical conduct.
Out of a total of 353 targeted students 303 responded, corresponding to a response rate of 85.8%. Responses indicated that 42.7% students believed in no interaction with drug companies during medical school. However, 81% of students favored pharmaceutical sponsorship of student-body events/seminars at medical colleges. More than one-third of the students were comfortable receiving gifts from drug companies. Overall, the results of this study offer an interesting comparison between the students of a private medical school (AKU) and a public medical school (DUHS); AKU students exhibited a greater degree of mistrust towards drug information provided by pharmaceutical companies compared to DUHS students (p = 0.040). Furthermore, when asked if there was a need to incorporate guidelines in the undergraduate curriculum with regard to interaction with drug companies, 84.2% students at AKU agreed, compared to 54.9% at DUHS. Medical student Attitude Scores are more or less similar to each other independent of their various demographical differences.
This study highlights that medical students in our population have a high level of acceptability towards incentives offered by pharmaceutical industry and that formal guidance regarding the subject should be incorporated into medical curriculum.
PMCID: PMC4101871  PMID: 24885167
Pharmaceutical companies; Acceptability; Incentives; Attitudes; Medical students
25.  The prevalence of work-related stress, and its association with self-perceived health and sick-leave, in a population of employed Swedish women 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:73.
Women report more occupational ill-health and are more sick-listed than men. Exploration of women's working conditions would therefore seem to be valuable. In this study we investigated the prevalence of work-related stress and its association with self-perceived health and sick-leave in a population of employed, working Swedish women.
This cross-sectional population study comprised 424 employed, working women who answered questionnaires on work-related stress, self-perceived health and sick-leave. The odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated in order to analyse the association between the exposure variables of work-related stress and outcome variables of ill-health symptoms, self-rated health and sick-leave.
Ten percent of the group reported high perceived stress owing to indistinct organisation and conflicts, and 25% high perceived stress owing to individual demands and commitment. Twenty-two percent reported low influence at work and 33% reported work interference with leisure time. All categories of overall work-related stress were significantly associated with increased odds of high level of illness symptoms, with the highest OR for high perceived stress owing to indistinct organisation and conflicts and high perceived stress owing to individual demands and commitment with an OR of 3.17 (CI = 1.51–6.62) and 4.53 (CI = 2.71–7.56) respectively. High perceived stress owing to indistinct organisation and conflicts and low influence at work were significantly associated with sick-leave with an OR of 3.85 (CI = 1.59–9.30) and 2.54 (CI = 1.17–5.48) respectively.
This study showed an association between, on the one hand, work-related stress, and on the other hand, illness symptoms and sick-leave. Distinguishing between the occurrence of negative work characteristics, and the immediate perception of stress because of these, resulted in a broad view of women's working conditions and expanded knowledge of work-related stress in women.
PMCID: PMC2653036  PMID: 19254367

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