Anxiety and Coping Strategies among
Medical Students during COVID-19
Pandemic: A Cross-sectional Study
Dr. Kranti Tekulapally,
Plot No. 23, Royal Gardens, Jai Jawahar Nagar, Yapral, Hyderabad, Telangana, India.
Introduction: Coronavirus Diseaese 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted the mental health of medical students due to multiple factors like the fear of getting infected, the stress of maintaining the preventive measures, the demands of the online classes, and the uncertainty of the future.
Aim: To assess the anxiety levels of the medical students and strategies, they used to cope up with the anxiety during the pandemic.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out among all the first and final year MBBS students of a Womenâ€™s Medical College and Teaching Hospital in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. The questionnaire contained a total of 25 questions- three questions to collect the demographic data, a 7-item Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD), and 15 questions assessing their coping strategies; was distributed to all the study participants as a Google form. Data from completed questionnaires were entered into an excel sheet and analysed using Jamovi software version 188.8.131.52.
Results: A total of 164 students completed the questionnaire of which, 59.1% were first year MBBS students and 40.8% final year MBBS students. Mean age of the participants were 19.4 years among the first year MBBS students, and 21.7 years among the final year MBBS students. Majority of the participants had mild anxiety (43.2%). There was no statistically significant difference in the anxiety levels of the first year MBBS and final year MBBS students. The most commonly used coping strategy factor was putting trust in the God (59.7% of first year MBBS, and 62.6% of final year MBBS) while the least commonly used coping strategy was substance abuse-use of alcohol or drugs to feel better (0 among first year MBBS and 2.9% among the final year MBBS). There was statistically significant association between one of the coping strategy and anxiety-I can adjust to the situation and deal with the changes and anxiety levels (p-value=0.010).
Conclusion: COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the mental health of medical students by causing anxiety. There is a need to mitigate these negative effects by introducing supportive programs in the form of educational programs, yoga and meditation to relieve anxiety and maintain mental health of medical students.