Graduate-entry medical students

older and wiser but not less distressed

Dion Casey*, Susan Thomas, Darren R. Hocking, Anna Kemp-Casey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: Australia has a growing number of graduate-entry medical courses. It is known that undergraduate medical students have high levels of psychological distress; however, little is known about graduate-entry medical students. We examined whether graduate-entry medical students had higher levels of psychological distress than the same-age general population. Method: Psychological distress was assessed in 122 graduate-entry medical students in an Australian graduate-entry medical school using the 21-item Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale. Mean scores and the proportion of students with scores in the highly distressed range were compared with non-clinical population norms. Scores were also compared across demographic characteristics. Results: Medical students reported higher mean depression, anxiety and stress scores than the general population and were more likely to score in the moderate to extremely high range for anxiety (45% vs. 13%; p<0.001) and stress (17% vs. 13%; p=0.003). Anxiety and stress were higher in students aged ≥30 years than in younger students. Conclusions: Despite their maturity, graduate-entry students experienced high psychological distress. Anxiety and stress were higher, not lower, with increasing age. Our results suggest that graduate-entry medical students warrant the same level of concern as their school-leaving counterparts. Further interventions to support these students during medical school are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-92
Number of pages5
JournalAustralasian Psychiatry
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Australia
  • DASS-21
  • Graduate-entry
  • Medical students
  • Psychological distress

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