Perceived stress and coping strategies among post graduate students of a medical college in Thrissur, Kerala

Joe Abraham, C. J. Navya, Vidhu Joshy


Background: Medical education is inherently demanding and stressful. Stress is an external constraint which upsets an individual both mentally and physically. The postgraduate students suffer from higher stress that definitely affects the mental wellbeing of these students. Stressors faced by post graduate students include time pressure to meet deadlines, large amount of content to be learnt, work overload, unfair assessment by superior, fears of making mistakes that can lead to serious consequences, work demands affecting personal and home life. Objectives of the study were to assess the perception of stress amongst post graduate medical students and to assess various coping strategies employed by them.

Methods: Predesigned, pretested, validated, self-administered, structured questionnaires were used for data collection over a period of two months. The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) was used for measuring the perception of stress. Brief COPE inventory was used to assess the various coping strategies medical students use to deal with the stresses in their life.

Results: One fourths of the study subjects (25%) were under high stress while 68.3% of the students were under moderate stress. Use of emotional support, self-distraction and venting were the common coping strategies employed.

Conclusions: The prevalence of perceived stress seems to be high among post graduate medical students. Review of academics and exam schedules, more leisure time activities, advisory services and peer counseling at the campus could do a lot to reduce the stress.


Post Graduate, Medical students, Perceived stress, Coping strategies

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