Stress vulnerability assessment among medical and political science and public administration students

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Context. Stress is a complex psychosocial phenomenon that significantly influences health. The individual differences in stress response depend on sensitivity to stressors, named “stress vulnerability”.

Objectives. The aims of the study were to determine the level of perceived vulnerability to stress and compare stress vulnerability among students from 2 universities in Bucharest: University of Medicine “Carol Davila” and National University of Political Studies and Public Administration.

Methods. An approximately equal number of students from the two selected universities completed the Romanian version of the Miller-Smith stress vulnerability questionnaire.

Results. A number of 86 (60 women and 26 men) students agreed to participate. Average age was 23.56 years with a standard deviation of 4.86 years. The high vulnerability group included 18 (38%) medical students and 27 (60%) political science and public administration students. The difference was statistically significant (chi2 test, p=0.02) between the two groups. The average health score for medical students (MS) was 15.97, with a median of 15, while for the political science and administration students (PSPAS) the average health score was 24.91, with a median of 26. The average psychosocial score for MS group was 20.41 and the median was 20. In the PSAPS group, the psychosocial score was 26.14 and the median 24. The difference was statistically significant for both health score (p<0.00001) and psychosocial score (p=0.0006).

Conclusions: Stress is a common problem among undergraduated students. In this study the vulnerability to stress was higher for students PSAPS group compared to the students from MS group.

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