THE PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT AND COPING AMONG MEDICAL STUDENTS IN PHRAMONGKUTKLAO COLLEGE OF MEDICINE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on medical education and other areas of life causing psychological distress.
Objectives: The study aimed to assess psychological impact and coping and to identify factors associated psychological impact among medical students.
Methods: An online cross-sectional study was conducted at Phramongkutklao College of Medicine (PCM) in April 2021. All medical students were invited to complete a standardized online questionnaire for demographics data, impact of COVID-19, coping, fear of illness and virus evaluation (FIVE). The Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21) Thai version was used to assess the psychological impact. The factors associated with depression, anxiety and stress were analyzed using logistic regression analysis.
Results: In total, 256 medical students completed the questionnaire. Of these, 54.7% reported having psychological impact, 43.4% depression, 36.7% anxiety and 29.7% stress. Depression was associated with preclinical students (adjusted OR(AOR) =3.03, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) =1.54-5.97), sleep problem (AOR =2.20, 95% CI=1.16-4.16) and extreme deterioration of family income (AOR =7.27, 95% CI=1.81-29.29). Anxiety was associated with preclinical students (AOR =3.20, 95% CI=1.52-6.72), COVID-19 like symptoms (AOR =2.93, 95% CI=1.26-6.83), slight problems adjusting to new learning methods (AOR =6.11, 95% CI=1.54-24.24) and extreme deterioration of family income (AOR =8.29, 95% CI=1.44-47.59). Stress was associated with preclinical students (AOR =3.84, 95% CI=1.75-8.40), COVID-19-like symptoms (AOR =3.54, 95% CI=1.53-8.19), and no confidence in COVID-19 policy of PCM (AOR =2.3, 95% CI=1.06-4.98). A positive correlation between Fear of Illness and Virus Evaluation (FIVE) and psychological impact was observed (r=0.449; p<0.001). Common coping activities were the use of social media, video chats and exercise.
Conclusion: A high prevalence of psychological impact was observed among medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic. To establish psychological support and resilience, training is needed to improve mental wellbeing and prepare medical students to cope with unprecedented situations.
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