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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 230-233

Perceived sources of stress among postgraduate students of a dental college in Karnataka, India


1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sri Ramakrishna Dental College, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sree Anjaneya Institute of Dental Sciences, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
3 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Coorg Institute of Dental Sciences, Virajpet, Karnataka, India
4 Department of Public Health Dentistry, KLE Dental College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication18-Sep-2017

Correspondence Address:
C B Sudeep
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sree Anjaneya Institute of Dental Sciences, Kozhikode - 673 315, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jiaphd.jiaphd_38_17

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  Abstract 

Introduction: Dentistry has for some time been viewed as a profession with high-stress, and usually this begins from the days of dental school onward. Students are subjected to different kinds of stressors, some being the pressure from academics with an obligation to succeed, uncertainty regarding their future and difficulties of integrating into the system. Aim: The aim is to identify the perceived sources of stress among postgraduate students from a dental college in Coorg, Karnataka. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire study was carried out, and the study samples included all the postgraduates of all nine specialties, including all the seventy-seven postgraduate students as samples. Results: Stress was relatively general among all the groups of the study participants, certain factors or stressors such as the amount of assigned work, competition with peers, examination and grades, lack of confidence to be a successful student and fear of facing parents after failure hamper the academic life of these students and had more significance among groups when compared to others. Conclusion: The academic life of students seemed to be hampered due to various potential stressors such as the amount of assigned work, competition with peers, examination and grades, lack of confidence to be a successful student, and fear of facing parents after failure. Such issues that arise in the educational setting need to be addressed which will help improve the academic environment of the students.

Keywords: Burnout, cross-sectional studies, dental education, dentistry, postgraduate education, stress


How to cite this article:
Mathew M J, Sudeep C B, Jain J, Jain V. Perceived sources of stress among postgraduate students of a dental college in Karnataka, India. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2017;15:230-3

How to cite this URL:
Mathew M J, Sudeep C B, Jain J, Jain V. Perceived sources of stress among postgraduate students of a dental college in Karnataka, India. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Nov 29];15:230-3. Available from: https://www.jiaphd.org/text.asp?2017/15/3/230/215060


  Introduction Top


Dentistry has long been viewed as a high-stress profession, and dental school is often where stress begins. In numerous studies carried out in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australian dental schools, students reported elevated perceived stress.[1] Students are subjected to different kinds of stressors, such as the pressure of academics with an obligation to succeed, an uncertain future, and difficulties of integrating into the system. The students also face social, emotional and physical and family problems which may affect their learning ability and academic performance. Too much stress can cause physical and mental health problems, reduce students' self-esteem and may affect students' academic achievement.[2]

Stressors associated with dentistry include time and scheduling pressures, managing uncooperative patients, commercial issues, and the highly technical and intensive nature of work. The origins of this stress may also lie in the process of dental education. In recent years, the injurious effects of stress experienced by dental students have received much attention. Stress has been shown to manifest as fatigue, tension, dizziness, sleeplessness, tachycardia, gastrointestinal symptoms, irritability, anxiety, and cynicism.[3] In addition to this, a negative association has been reported between stress and academic performance of dental students.[4]

The role of parents has not been investigated in previous studies on dental students' stress. A very strong family bond exists among Asians and generally lasts a lifetime. In times of emergency and hardship, a person can fall back on his or her family for emotional and material support. This may be one of the reasons for the very low suicide rates among Asian countries. The downside of such strong family bonds is that one sometimes has to sacrifice his or her own interests for the sake of the family.[5]

A recent systematic review of psychological distress in medical students concluded that perceptions of stress are correlated with depression, anxiety, somatic symptoms, and health problems and are predictive of future risk for depression. In our health professions students, it has been a subject of much research interest.[6] With this background, the aim of this study was to identify the perceived sources of stress among postgraduate students of a dental college in Coorg, Karnataka and to investigate whether any specific stressors were related to the year of study and gender, also to determine whether parents contributed to their stress levels.


  Materials and Methods Top


A cross-sectional questionnaire study was carried out in a dental college in Coorg. Ethical clearance was obtained from the Ethical Committee before initiating the study. The study was carried out for 3 months between April and June 2015. After obtaining informed consent from the selected individuals, a modified version of the dental environment stress questionnaire was used in the study, keeping in mind the Indian scenario as the learning curriculum and modes of assessment vary in our region.[3]

The study sample comprised all the postgraduates from the nine specialties adding to a total of 77 postgraduate students, among these three students from the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery were posted in peripheral centers and four students from the Department of Pedodontics were out of station during the study, as a result of which they could not be accessed. Thus, a final sample accounting to a total of 70 postgraduates responded to the survey.

The survey was in the form of a closed-ended questionnaire which comprised37 questions relating to possible sources of stress. Demographic information (year, gender, and age) was also obtained. The responses to the questionnaire containing 37 questions were based on a four-point Likert scale which was used in the original study.[3] All descriptive as well as inferential statistical analysis using Student's t-test and Chi-square was carried out using SPSS ver. 16 (IBM, SPSS Inc.,) for windows and the value of P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.


  Results Top


[Figure 1] represents the proportion of participants according to different years of study which was 37%, 30%, and 33% in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year of study, respectively.
Figure 1: Participants according to the year of postgraduation

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Among the study participants, 64.3% were male and 35.7% were female. Considering the marital status of the study participants, 44.3% were married, whereas the majority 55.7% were single.

Out of all the questions in the survey questionnaire which evaluated stress, significant differences in stress levels between students in different years of study were observed only for 5 questions, and they are.

[Figure 2] shows that there was a significant difference observed among the groups and 2nd year students had more stress recorded compared to 1st and 3rd year in the amount of assigned work.
Figure 2: Amount of assigned work

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[Figure 3] explains a significant difference among the groups and the 1st year students had more stress in competition with peers for grades when compared with 2nd and 3rd year students.
Figure 3: Competition with peers for grades

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[Figure 4] represents a significant difference in stress among groups, the 3rd year students had more stress when compared to first and second yes in the case of examinations and grades.
Figure 4: Examination and grades

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[Figure 5] shows that there was a significant lack of confidence to be a successful student among all the groups, but it was more in 2nd year when compared to 1st and 3rd year students.
Figure 5: Lack of confidence to be a successful student

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[Figure 6] shows a significant difference in all groups according to fear of facing parents after failure, stress was more in 3rd year than 1st and 2nd year students.
Figure 6: Fear of facing parents after failure

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  Discussion Top


The objective of this study was to identify the perceived sources of stress among the postgraduate students. Although there have been similar studies on undergraduates and postgraduate nursing and medical students,[2],[7],[8],[9],[10] literature available is limited for dental graduates and postgraduates.

It was seen that stress related to the amount of assigned work was generally more for the 2nd year than the 1st and 3rd year students. This increase in stress levels in the 2nd year may be because the students were required to complete certain quotas in terms of patients treated and academics to be eligible to appear for the final examinations, which was in agreement with other studies.[11],[12],[13]

Stress due to competition with peers for grades was seen more in 1st year, when compared to 2nd and 3rd year. This might have been probably because they have not had enough time to interact and because they tend to assign undue importance to peer competition.[7]

The stress level was high among 3rd year for examination and grades, when compared to the 1st and 2nd year and stress associated with lack of confidence to be a successful student was seen more in 2nd year than with 1st and 3rd year. This might also be attributed to the amount of assigned work; since 2nd year are more involved in activities, such as dissertations, paper presentations, and publications.[8],[9]

Although 3rd year could have the same amount or even more work along with the examination stress, by the time they reach 3rd year, they are more or less accustomed to handling such responsibilities, which was in disagreement with an earlier study.[3]

The stress level was highest among 3rd year for fear of facing parents after failure. Facing parents after failure was the most stressful item across all classes; it was again a top stressor, this was in agreement with a study among the undergraduates.[10]

Since this study was carried out on a limited sample, it is not possible to reason the findings or generalize them to similar groups. Furthermore, several other factors like the attitude of family members and the faculty members, individual socioeconomic status, health ailments, and other personal reasons could have confounded the results.

Although the factors causing stress are varied and are highly subjective, the educational system can contribute in alleviating stress among their students. A congenial environment needs to be created by the dental faculty so that students can pursue their studies with less anxiety or fear. Effective assistance from teaching staff, faculty administrators, and families are essential for students to create a stress-free environment. The living conditions of the students and their recreational facilities may be improved. Although some high-rated stressors appear to be inherent in professional education and prevalent to diverse dental educational settings, a contemporary dental school should address potential stress sources effectively. The students should be taught different stress management techniques to improve their ability to cope with a demanding professional course. The potential sources of stressors can also be addressed by student advisors, peer education, and counseling. Coping strategies such as positive reframing, planning, acceptance, active coping self-distraction, and emotional support taught by professional trainers can help students deal with stress.[14]


  Conclusion Top


The amount of assigned work, competition with peers, examination and grades, lack of confidence to be a successful student and fear of facing parents after failure are certain potential stressors that hamper the academic life of these students. Addressing issues that may arise in the educational setting will help improve the academic environment and lead to superior professional training nevertheless ensuring enough care and support through periodic motivation and recreational activates might be helpful to decrease the stress caused by them.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Muirhead V, Locker D. Canadian dental student's perception of stress. J Can Dent Assoc 2007;73:323-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
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2.
Sreeramareddy CT, Shankar PR, Binu VS, Mukhopadhyay C, Ray B, Menezes RG. Psychological morbidity, sources of stress and coping strategies among undergraduate medical students of Nepal. BMC Med Educ 2007;7:26.  Back to cited text no. 2
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Acharya S. Factors affecting stress among Indian dental students. J Dent Educ 2003;67:1140-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
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Pau A, Rowland ML, Naidoo S, AbdulKadir R, Makrynika E, Moraru R, et al. Emotional intelligence and perceived stress in dental undergraduates: A multinational survey. J Dent Educ 2007;71:197-204.  Back to cited text no. 4
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Henzi D, Davis E, Jasinevicius R, Hendricson W. In the students' own words: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the dental school curriculum? J Dent Educ 2007;71:632-45.  Back to cited text no. 5
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Gorter R, Freeman R, Hammen S, Murtomaa H, Blinkhorn A, Humphris G. Psychological stress and health in undergraduate dental students: Fifth year outcomes compared with first year baseline results from five European dental schools. Eur J Dent Educ 2008;12:61-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
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Halappa M, Saxena S, Ananda SR, Chandu GN. Perceived sources of stress among bioallied science students of South India. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 2014;6:335-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
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Alzayyat A, Al-Gamal E. A review of the literature regarding stress among nursing students during their clinical education. Int Nurs Rev 2014;61:406-15.  Back to cited text no. 8
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Bulo JG, Sanchez MG. Sources of stress among college students. CVCITC Res J 2014;1:16-25.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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Salam A, Yousuf R, Abu Bakar SM, Haque M. Stress among medical students in Malaysia: A systematic review of literatures. Int Med J 2013;20:649-55.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Polychronopoulou A, Divaris K. Perceived sources of stress among Greek dental students. J Dent Educ 2005;69:687-92.  Back to cited text no. 11
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Tangade PS, Mathur A, Gupta R, Chaudhary S. Assessment of stress level among dental school students: An Indian outlook. Dent Res J (Isfahan) 2011;8:95-101.  Back to cited text no. 12
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Aditya S, Amrith S, Hegde Mithra N, Dhanya N, Shishir S. Stress and burnout assessment among post graduate dental students. NUJHS 2015;5:31-6.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Sudeep CB, Sequeira PS, Jain J, Prataap N, Jain V, Maliyil M. Awareness of emergency drugs uses among students and teaching faculty in a dental college in Coorg, Karnataka. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2014;12:185-8.  Back to cited text no. 14
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    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6]



 

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