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Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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Assessment of severity of stress among medical and dental students during the COVID-19 pandemic


1 Department of Neurology, Apollo Speciality Hospitals, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Apollo Speciality Hospitals, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India
3 Third Year MBBS, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Correspondence Address:
Bindu Menon,
Department of Neurology, Apollo Speciality Hospitals, 16/111/1133, Muttukur Road, Pinakini Nagar, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aian.AIAN_19_21

Background and Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic has a major bearing on mental health. This study was aimed to study the level of stress among the medical and dental students amidst this crisis. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to students pursuing medical and dental undergraduate and postgraduate degrees across India. It included sociodemographics, psychological status, academic activities, online classes, information about COVID-19, and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Results: The overall response rate was 86%. 9.8% of students had low, 74.4% had moderate, and 15.8% had high stress according to PSS. The major worry was uncertain future (41.8%); academic inadequacies/delays (27.78%), apprehension of self-health (26.78%), and family's health (21.13%). 52.7% of participants experienced a lack of motivation; 74% were frustrated/irritable and 46.3% experienced loneliness. Their access to information about COVID-19 was from family and friends (71.42%); news (64.48%), social media sites (62.79%), Internet (36.87%), and newspapers (34.71%). Females were more stressed (P value = 0.000) with ages 21–25 years (P value = 0.000). The students who were motivated, frustrated/irritable, or lonely had high stress (P value <0.01). The students with no exercise had high stress (P value <0.01), however, the duration of exercise was not statistically significant. 58% were not satisfied with the online classes (P value <0.01). Interpretation and Conclusions: Our study showed that more than three-fourths of medical and dental students were under moderate to high-level stress. Multiple factors for the stress were identified. Exercise was a stress buster, which should be encouraged for good mental health. In view of the uncertain future identified as the major worry, it is prudent for health educators to change the curriculum to keep pace with the existing competency of training.


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