Stress and mental health problems in 1st year medical students: a survey of two medical colleges in Kanpur, India

Shivendra Jena, Harish Chandra Tiwari


Background:Incidence of stress among medical students has been reported to be between high and very high. Medical students in pre-clinical phase are more likely to develop psychological distress than medical students in clinical phase. It may affect academic performance and lead to anxiety, depression and substance abuse.

Methods:First year students of one government medical college and one private medical college of Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, were surveyed to find out stress and mental health problems shortly after their admission.

Results:The two colleges showed difference in the frequencies of a number of factors- current stress, sleep problem, sad mood, both parents working, parents giving sufficient time, non-participation in extra-curricular activities, sharing problem with their families, having break-up in a romantic relationship and poor relationships with classmates and roommate. More students of the government medical college reported to have current stress compared to the students of the private medical college. While all students of the government medical who had stress since admission did not recover from it, 55.56% of students of the private medical college recovered from it at the time of our survey.

Conclusion:a) Psychiatry Department of every medical college should be involved in screening 1st year students having stress and mental health problems and managing them. b) Medical education should be imparted in more relaxed and fun filled manner to help students cope with the long and difficult course.



Stress, Mental health, Medical students

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