Prevalence of somatic symptoms amongst undergraduate medical students of Marathwada region of Maharashtra, India

Shaikh Arshiya Kaiser Husain, Anwaya R. Magare, Purushottam A. Giri, Vijaykumar S. Jadhav


Background: The aim of medical education is to produce competent, physically and mentally strong health professionals, as they are going to be the pillars of the future health care system. Stress is one of the most common and process-oriented obstacles in medical education. It often exerts a negative effect on the academic performance, physical health, and psychological well-being of the students. Dealing with overloaded medical curriculum, competing with peers, being away from home and meeting high expectations imposed by parents and society to excel is among the common stressful transitions at this stage.

Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out amongst 352 undergraduate medical students of a private medical college in a rural area of Maharashtra during April to October 2019. The structured questionnaire was used to record the data. Collected data was used to assess the severity of mental health issues among medical students.

Results: Majority 194 (55.11%) students were in the age of 18 to 20 years followed by 141 (40.06%) were in 21 to 23 years. There were 196 (55.68%) girl students and 156 (44.32%) boys. According to the various categories, 80 (22.73%) of the students had low stress scores, followed by 76 (21.59%) in minimal. A highly significant difference in stress scores was seen between boys and girls, which was more in boys.

Conclusions: Study concluded that undergraduate medical students perceive minimal to very high stress presented as various systems that vary with the year of study and gender wise too. There is a further need to look into the various causes of stress.


Undergraduate medical student, Stress, Somatic, Somatoform

Full Text:



Mosley TH Jr, Perrin SG, Neral SM, Dubbert PM, Grothues CA, Pinto BM. Stress. Coping and well-being among third-year medical students. Acad Med. 1994;69:765-67.

Mac Lean L, Booza J, Balon R. The impact of medical school on student’s mental health. Acad Psychiatry. 2016;40:89-91.

Moffat KJ, McConnachie A, Ross S, Morrison JM. First-year medical student stress and coping in a problem-based learning medical curriculum. Med Educ. 2004;38:482-91.

Pagnin D, de Queiroz V. Comparison of quality of life between medical students and young general populations. Educ Health. 2015;28:209-12.

Ibrahim N, Al-Kharboush D, El-Khatib L, Al-Habib A, Asali D. Prevalence and Predictors of anxiety and depression among female medical students in King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Iran J Public Health. 2013;42:726-36.

Vankar JR, Prabhakaran A, Sharma H. Depression and stigma in medical students at a private medical college. Indian J Psychol Med. 2014;36:246-54.

Behere SP, Yadav R, Behere PB. A comparative study of stress among medicine, engineering, and nursing students. Indian J Psychol Med. 2011;33:1458.

Adhikari A, Dutta A. Prevalence of poor mental health among medical students in Nepal: A cross-sectional study. BMC Med Educ. 2017;17:232.

Roger C. Imagined illnesses can cause real problems for medical students. CMAJ. 2008;25(178):820.

De Waal MWM, Arnold IA, Eekhof JAH. Follow-up study on health care use of patients with somatoform, anxiety and depressive disorders in primary care. BMC Family Practice. 2008;9:5.

World Health Organization (2004). ICD-10: International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems: Tenth revision, 2nd ed. World Health Organization. Accessed on 15th April, 2019.

Gierk B, Kohlmann S, Kroenke K, Spangenberg L, Zenger M, Brähler E et al. The Somatic Symptom Scale-8 (SSS-8): A Brief Measure of Somatic Symptom Burden. JAMA Internal Med. 2014;174(3):399-407.

Manore S, Makade KG, Umate L, Pandey P. Somatic symptom disorder (SSD) among medical students with DSM–V. Int J Psychol. 2017;4(2):39-43.

Rueckert KK, Ancane GA. cross-sectional study among Medical Students in Latvia: Differences in mental symptoms and somatic symptoms among Latvian and International Students. Papers on Anthropol. 2018;27:47-54.

Eva EO, MZ, Mosaddek ASM, Rahman MF, Rozario RJ. Prevalence of stress among medical students: A comparative study between public and private medical schools in Bangladesh. BMC Res Notes. 2015;8:327.

Dutta AR, Raja JD. Stress and Stressors among Medical Undergraduate Students: A Cross-sectional Study in a Private Medical College in Tamil Nadu. Indian J Community Med. 2017;42(4):222-25.

Rock B, Ronald R. Prevalence of stress and its risk factors among medical students. Int J Community Med Pub Health. 2017;4(12):4589-94.