Incidence and severity of stress among medical undergraduates and their coping abilities
Background and Aim: The undergraduate and postgraduate medical students withstand persistent pressure during their studies. This cross‑sectional study is designed with the aim to find out the incidence of stress among undergraduate medical students of different academic years, and explore the effect of gender and difference in ethnicity, cultural, and social background on perceived stress and their coping strategies. Methods: We used a questionnaire to assess the level of perceived stress among Saudi and Pakistani undergraduate students in medical schools. Results: Around 46% Umm al Qura undergraduate medical students were found to be stressed with average stress score ranging between 15 and 15.43. On the other hand, Karachi Medical and Dental College students showed increased incidence of stress (63%), but their average scores are more or less similar to that of Saudi students. Academic overload is the major stressor and cognitive, emotional, and behavioral issues are common in both medical schools. Prayers and socializing with friends are the main coping strategies observed at both places. Conclusion: Difference in ethnicity, cultural, and social background affects the incidence of stress but not the severity. Measures should be taken to reduce the academic stress. Developing a supportive environment, providing student counseling, and educating them about time management may play an important role in reducing the incidence of stress as well as its severity.