The correlates of stress, coping styles and psychiatric morbidity in the first year of medical education at a Nigerian University
Objectives: This study was prompted by the heightened concerns about the stress inherent in medical education evident from the incessant requests for suspension of studies due to psychological problems. The objectives of the study were to: (i) survey the students for possible psychological problems at admission, and follow them up till exit for possible changes in morbidity, and (ii) ascertain possible risk factors, and coping strategies.
Method: This is a preliminary 2-stage cross-sectional report, which is part
of a longitudinal survey. It involves first year medical students of the College of Health Sciences of University of Ilorin between March and April, 2011. Questionnaires used included socio demographic, sources of stress, the general health questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), Maslachfs burnout inventory (MBI), and Brief COPE. Data were analysed using SPSS version 15 at 5% significance level. Chi-square, frequency distributions, Pearsonfs correlation, Odd ratios, and Confidence Intervals were calculated to determine the levels of risk.
Results: 79 students returned completed questionnaires. 12 (15.2%) were ghq-12 cases (i.e., scored . 3). Students who had morbidity were 9 times at risk of being stressed consequent upon ecompeting with their peersf and 4 times at risk due to einadequate learning materialsf. Morbidity was significantly more likely to engender use of ereligionf, 4 times less likely
to engender use of epositive reframingf with a trend in the use of eself blamef as coping strategies.
Conclusion: Aside from psychosocial/ personal issues in this cohort, academic demand was an additional source of psychological problems thereby causing those who had morbidity to utilize ereligionf and epositive reframingf to cope. There is therefore an apparent need to incorporate the principle of mental health promotion in medical education.
Keywords: Stress; Coping styles; Psychiatric morbidity; Medical education; Nigeria