Prevalence of Stress and Coping Strategies among Undergraduate Medical Students at Ridgeway Campus of the University of Zambia
Stress is the way in which the body reacts to uncomfortable situations. The University Of Zambia School of Medicine (UNZA-SoM) is the first medical school in Zambia established in 1965 and is located at the Ridgeway Campus. Students at the campus face a number of challenges, including inadequate accommodation, struggling to pay university fees, demanding learning load and alcohol and substance abuse.
The study was a quantitative cross-sectional design. Third to seventh year medical students were recruited using simple random sampling. The data collection instrument was a self-administered questionnaire.
The overall findings showed that 71.2% of all the respondents experienced some levels of stress, and the highest prevalence was among the third year students. Prevalence of stress among students who took alcohol was lower (43.3%) than among those who did not (61.1%). Academic pressure (93.94%), financial problems (68.94%) and lecturers’ attitudes (72.72%) were the three most important sources of stress while attending church services (61.36%), watching movies (77.27%) and taking a walk (58.33%) were the three most common coping strategies.
The prevalence of moderate to severe stress was 53.03% which was very high. Students in this category qualify for further clinical assessment and appropriate treatment. However, most of these students were not offered help in form of therapy.
Students should be encouraged to employ more of the physically active coping mechanisms and encouraged to seek help from the university counseling services. The government should endeavor to include more students on government sponsorship programs and build more accommodation facilities on cam
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