Effect of Stress on Academic Performance of Undergraduate Medical Students

Sharif, Amielya . T . (2018-07-03)

Stress refers to the “sum of physical, mental and emotional strains or tensions on a person” . It is defined as a condition typically characterized by symptoms of mental and physical tension or strain as depression or hypertension, which can result from a reaction to a situation in which a person feels threatened or pressured or both .The stress which enhances function (physical or mental, such as through strength training or challenging work) is called eustress, while persistent stress that is not resolved through coping or adaptation and may lead to anxiety or withdrawal (depression) behavior is known as distress . Medical training is identified as full of stress and it is also observed that students undergo tremendous stress during various years of medical training. In many medical schools, the environment itself is an all prevailing pressure situation, providing an authoritarian and rigid system, one that encourages competition rather than cooperation between learners . It is not just the undergraduate study period which brings stress but it may continue during the internship, postgraduate study period, and later into physician's practical life . The stress may also reach burnout levels


Medical education is perceived as being stressful, and a high level of stress may have a negative effect on cognitive functioning and learning of students in a medical school. Medical students experience stress during their academic years. This stress is related to financial issues, health problems, social issues and academic difficulties. Stress can either negatively or positively influence academic achievement . Chronic stress among medical students affects academic performance of students and leads to depression, substance use, and suicide

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