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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 49  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 140-147

A study to assess the impact of gender and psychiatric distress on coping responses and the levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation in undergraduate medical students

1 Department of Clinical Psychology, Ranchi Institute of Neuro-Psychiatry and Allied Sciences, Kanke, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India
2 Department of Physiology, Burdwan Medical College, Burdwan, West Bengal, India
3 Department of Applied Psychology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
4 Department of Community Medicine, ESI-PGIMSR and ESIC Medical College, Joka, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Kalyan Kumar Paul
FE-149, Sector III, Salt Lake City, Kolkata - 700 106, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jss.jss_2_22

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Background: Medical education is one of the most stressful academic curricula across the globe, and response to stress can be manifested as physical response, emotional response, cognitive response, and behavioral response. Aims: The aim was to study the relationships between coping styles, level of anxiety, level of depression, and level of suicidal ideation in medical students with a special emphasis on gender differences. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 250 medical students of a medical college in West Bengal. Data were collected using online Google Forms. A pretested structured questionnaire contained five scales, namely General Health Questionnaire-28, Coping Response Inventory, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory-II, and Adult Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire. Results: Out of 250 students, 63.6% were male. In the case of psychiatric distress, 57.5% of males and 42.5% of females reported no considerable psychiatric distress. Among those with considerable levels of psychiatric distress, majority (68.6%) were male. Most (88%) of the participants exhibited above-average levels of state anxiety and only 0.8% of them exhibited above-average levels of trait anxiety. Moderate-to-severe levels of depression were found in 39.2% of the participants and 27.6% of them reported frequent suicidal ideation. Majority of the participants utilized avoidance coping methods such as cognitive avoidance, acceptance or resignation, seeking alternative rewards, and emotional discharge (ED). ED was found to be the most frequently used coping response. Conclusions: Psychiatric distress has a significant impact on the levels of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and coping responses in medical students. Gender had a significant role in the case of suicidal ideation and ED in medical students. Emotion-focused coping is more in use among medical students as compared to approach coping or problem-focused coping.

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