Causes of Stress and Coping Strategies Adopted by Undergraduate Health Professions Students in a University in the United Arab Emirates

Kadayam G. Gomathi, Soofia Ahmed, Jayadevan Sreedharan

Abstract


Objectives: This study aimed to compare causes of stress and coping strategies adopted by a sample of undergraduate health-profession students at the Gulf Medical University, United Arab Emirates. Methods: An anonymous voluntary questionnaire-based survey was conducted, from January to July 2011, among first- and second-year medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and physiotherapy students (N = 212) to identify causes of stress. Coping strategies were studied using the Brief COPE Inventory. Results: Worries regarding the future (54.2%) and parental expectations (40.1%) were the major stressors. Poor diet (36.8%) and a lack of exercise (36.3%) were also reported to cause stress. Students used multiple strategies, mainly religion/praying (74.5%), planning (70.5%) and taking action (70.5%) to cope with stress. There were no significant differences observed in the stressors or coping strategies between genders or programmes. First-year students (62.5%) relied on emotional support significantly more (P <0.05) than second-year students (48.5%). Conclusion: The main causes of stress were worries regarding future and parental expectations. The majority of the students used positive coping strategies, with religion/praying found to be the most frequently used strategy.



Keywords


Stress, Psychological; Health Professions; Medical Education, undergraduate; Coping Behavior; United Arab Emirates.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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