Kurtz M, Paulsen R, Ferguson D. How effectively are osteopathic medical students coping with a stressful life-style?. J Am Osteopath Assoc 1990;90(7):613. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.19184.108.40.2063.
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Medical education has been described as an extremely intense and stressful experience. First- and second-year osteopathic medical students (N = 225) were surveyed to assess their perceptions of their own physical and psychological well-being, mechanisms they use to combat daily stress, their leisure activities, and the health-promoting behaviors in which they engage. This study found perceived physical and psychological well-being to be quite good, with more than 82% of respondents reporting "good" or "excellent" in both areas. Only 11% of students reported using tobacco, and the mean number of alcoholic drinks consumed per day was less than one. Most of the students reported that they exercised regularly and that they did not view sleep deprivation as a significant problem; however, the students did perceive the stress attributed to the demands of medical school as quite high. The primary coping behaviors they used in response to stress included humor, leisure, exercise, and social activity. Smoking, using medication, and using illicit drugs were infrequently indicated as coping strategies. From a comprehensive perspective, student perceptions indicate that they are effectively coping with the stresses of medical education.
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