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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 160-169

Association of educational stress with depression, anxiety, and substance use among medical and engineering undergraduates in India


1 Department of Psychiatry, Army College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, PES Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anurag Timothy
Department of Psychiatry, Army College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 010
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_3_20

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Background: Students pursuing higher education are subject to high stress levels which could be associated with dysfunctional coping. Maladaptive coping is known to be operative in manifesting as psychopathology as depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse. This study aimed to elaborate the psychological morbidity among professional undergraduates in general and medical students in particular, its evolution over the years and its psychosocial correlates. Methodology: The study examined medical students (n = 202) and age-matched engineering students (n = 145) belonging to the first and final year for psychological stress and coping, educational stress, domestic and professional concerns, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Psychometric scales along with demographic questionnaire were used to assess and quantify stress and psychological morbidity. Results: Medical students had higher levels of stress (psychological and education related) and higher psychological morbidity (depression and anxiety). Stress scores correlated positively with depression and anxiety scores and negatively with substance use score. Psychological stress other than educational stress was noted to be predictors of alcohol use in the sample. Conclusion: Our study elucidates that medical students face higher levels of psychological and education-related stressors and have higher levels of psychological morbidity than students from engineering colleges. Psychoactive substances are used as a form of self-medication to alleviate stress.


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