CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Ann Natl Acad Med Sci
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1743138
Original Article

Psychological Morbidities and Coping Styles: A Rural Institution-Based Cross-Sectional Comparative Study between Undergraduate Medical Students Undergoing Different Phases of Training

Sunny Garg
1   Department of Psychiatry, Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women, Khanpur Kalan, Sonipat, Haryana, India
Alka Chauhan
1   Department of Psychiatry, Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women, Khanpur Kalan, Sonipat, Haryana, India
› Author Affiliations


Background Psychological morbidities are high among undergraduate medical students. They experience the transition between pre-/para-clinical and clinical training as a stressful period, and cope differently. Research studies from India in this regard are lacking.

Aims The aim of this study is to assess and compare the prevalence of psychological morbidities and their respective associated factors and coping styles between pre-/para-clinical and clinical undergraduate medical students.

Materials and Methods This institution-based cross-sectional observational design study was conducted among undergraduate medical students (a total of 382) in pre-/para-clinical and clinical years by using a questionnaire in the period between April and June 2019. A stratified random sampling technique was used to select the study participants. The survey included standard self-administered questionnaires like General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28) and Lin–Chen's coping inventory to assess psychological morbidities and coping styles, respectively. Associated factors for psychological morbidities and coping styles between two groups were compared using the Chi-square test, independent t-test, and binary logistic regression analysis.

Results Out of the 382 responders, psychological morbidities (GHQ-28 score > 23) were found in 61% participants. Both groups reported high levels of psychological morbidities; a slightly higher preponderance in clinical (61.5%) than in pre-/para-clinical students (60.6%) with a nonsignificant difference. Compared with the pre-/para-clinical group, the clinical group was found to have more substance consumption behavior (p < 0.001), dissatisfaction with academic performance (p < 0.001), sought psychiatric consultation (p < 0.004), and at that time on psychiatric treatment (p < 0.04). Active problem coping behavior was more significantly used by the pre-/para-clinical group, while passive problem coping and passive emotional coping behaviors were positively significantly correlated with psychological morbidities in the clinical group.

Conclusion This study suggests a significant correlation between psychological morbidities and passive coping styles in the clinical group. These students need interventions to encourage the use of more active coping styles during training to provide advances in future career. A strong correlation between psychological morbidities and dissatisfied academic performance may be a call for an efficient and more student-friendly curriculum.

Publication History

Article published online:
07 March 2022

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