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Title: Stress and the undergraduates
Authors: Ko, S.M. 
Kua, E.H. 
Fones, C.S.L. 
Keywords: Coping
Issue Date: Oct-1999
Citation: Ko, S.M., Kua, E.H., Fones, C.S.L. (1999-10). Stress and the undergraduates. Singapore Medical Journal 40 (10) : 627-630. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Objectives: To assess the psychological health of undergraduates during their initial entry to the University, and to identify common sources of stress in their lives. Method: All first year law and medical undergraduates were administered a series of questionnaires. Results: Of the 135 medical and 128 law first year undergraduates surveyed using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) to measure psycho-emotional distress, 77 medical students (57%) and 69 law students (47.3%) scored above the traditional cut-off of 4/5 points. Law students had significantly lower (p < 0.05) Life-Events Scores (mean 40.62, SD 29.30) than medical students (mean 55.62, SD 31.70). There was no statistical significant difference between medical (mean 89.32, SD 18.36) and law (mean 93.39, SD ± 19.76) students (p = 0.88) in Type A Behavioural Pattern (TAPB). Hostelites (n = 67) reported significantly higher (p < 0.05) LES (mean 56.22, SD ± 28.17) than non-hostelites (n = 196, mean 45.40, SD ± 32.04). The commonest life events experienced in the past twelve months by the students were: (1) Difficulty keeping up with reading (84.4%), (2) Increased amount of academic work (82.5%), (3) Difficulty in tutorials (66.5%), (4) Little time for personal activities (61.6%) and (5) Difficulties in lectures as well as (6) peer competition (each 46.8%). Law students cited more relationship problems, while medical students were more troubled by academic work. When faced with a problem, more than seven out often students would turn to friends and classmates for help. The other common avenues of support were the family, and religion. A substantial proportion of law (37.5%) and medical (31.1%) students preferred to keep their problems to themselves; significantly (p < 0.00001) more of them (72.2%) were high GHQ scorers than other students (high GHQ scorers 47.4%). Interestingly 27.8% of these students turn to religion for emotional support. Conclusion: Health education programmes, mentorship and a reduction in information overload in the curriculum can be important strategies to enable undergraduates cope better with the demands of tertiary education.
Source Title: Singapore Medical Journal
ISSN: 00375675
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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