Background: The medical students of today will be doctors of tomorrow. Hence, attention to their mental health is of immense importance to make them ready for multiple unprecedented challenges in the future.
Aims and Objectives: This study aims to study the effect of perceived stress of the first MBBS students on general health profile and performance in oral and practical examinations during conduction of the foundation course.
Materials and Methods: This quasi-experimental cross-sectional study was conducted in a Government Medical College of West Bengal in the Department of Physiology. All 200 students of the first MBBS batch participated in the present study. The students were divided into two groups according to presumptive stressful life events scale scores: Group I (subjects having presumptive stressful life events scale scores more than 200: 66); Group II (subjects having presumptive stressful life events scale scores more than 40 up to 200: 134). Perceived stress scores, body mass index, and waist/hip (W/H) ratio were calculated. Pulse rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure were measured and blood groups were estimated. Two theory examinations and three oral examinations were conducted. Feedback from students was taken regarding the teaching-learning program and feedback provided to them.
Results: Presumptive stressful life events scale scores (309.41 ± 118.87 vs. 153.63 ± 34.11; P < 0.001**) and perceived stress scale scores (19.69 ± 5.22 vs. 16.84 ± 3.9; P < 0.001**) were significantly higher in Group I as compared to Group II. Subjects of Group I had higher W/H ratio (0.88 ± 0.08 vs. 0.847 ± 0.074; P = 0.01*), pulse rate (80.97 ± 4.8 vs. 77.28 ± 4.87; P < 0.001**), and systolic blood pressure (SBP) (123.26 ± 5.24 vs. 120.93 ± 6.19; P = 0.006**) as compared to Group II. Students of Group II performed significantly better in oral examinations as compared to students of Group I.
Conclusions: The performance of students in oral examinations was negatively correlated with perceived stress scores. An increase in perceived stress levels increased pulse rate, SBP, and W/H ratio in the first MBBS students.
Key words: Perceived Stress; Performance in Examination; Health Profile; Medical Students