First year medical students' perceptions of stress and support: a comparison between reformed and traditional track curricula
Article first published online: 15 MAR 2004
Volume 38, Issue 5, pages 504–509, May 2004
How to Cite
Kiessling, C., Schubert, B., Scheffner, D. and Burger, W. (2004), First year medical students' perceptions of stress and support: a comparison between reformed and traditional track curricula. Medical Education, 38: 504–509. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2929.2004.01816.x
- Issue published online: 26 APR 2004
- Article first published online: 15 MAR 2004
- Received 7 March 2003; editorial comments to authors 25 March 2003, 29 May 2003, 18 July 2003; accepted for publication 27 August 2003
- education, medical, continuing/*methods;
- stress psychological/*psychology;
- prevention and control;
- *adaptation psychological;
- cross-sectional study;
Background The authors hypothesised that medical schools need to support their students by identifying the challenges inherent in the demanding study of medicine, especially during the transitional phase at the beginning of study. Therefore, a study was conducted to evaluate Year 1 students' perceptions on how well 2 different programmes – a reformed and a traditional programme – helped students make a good start to their studies.
Design Cross-sectional survey.
Method and Participants A questionnaire was distributed to Year 1 medical students on reformed (RT) and traditional track (TT) curricula. Its 5 subscales measured perceived stress and support.
Result A total of 155 students (70% of the year group) responded. Significant differences between groups appeared in 4 of the 5 subscales. Students on the RT felt more supported than students on the TT in terms of study conditions, social support at university, perceptions of their own attitudes and competencies, and living conditions. No differences in perceptions of social support outside university were apparent.
Conclusion Key aspects that were perceived as supportive included good contact with fellow students and teachers, high quality of courses, and a curriculum that fulfilled students' expectations and made sense to them. In identifying particular features that led to the positive judgement of the RT, the authors hypothesised that the following aspects were crucial: the specific orientation unit in the first 2 weeks, the problem-based learning workshop, the coursebooks and extracurricular social activities.