Graduate-entry medical students: older and wiser but not less distressed Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • 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.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.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.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.

publication date

  • 2016