Perceptions of medical school stressors: Their relationship to age, year of study and trait anxiety

Sara Carmel, Judith Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


It has been noted that medical school is a stressful social environment. This study proposes to determine domains of medical school stressors and to investigate to what extent the perceived stressfulness of these domains is explained by age, year of study, marital status, sex, and trait anxiety. Data were obtained by self-administered questionnaires filled out by 131 students in four classes of a six-year medical school. Four clusters of stressors were revealed by factor analysis: ‘‘off-time death,” “incurable condition,” “patient contact,” and “medical practice demands.” Marital status, sex, and year of study did not correlate with any of these stressor domains. Age was positively correlated with the perception of off-time death as stressful and negatively correlated with patient contact. Trait anxiety was directly correlated with the perceived stressfulness of patient contact and medical practice demands. No independent variable explained differences in perception of all four domains. It is suggested that there are some experiences, such as facing off- time death, that are so painful that repeated exposure to them augments, rather than decreases, the perception of their stressfulness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Human Stress
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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