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Malays J Med Sci. 2012 Jul;19(3):29-35.

A Study of Psychological Distress in Two Cohorts of First-Year Medical Students that Underwent Different Admission Selection Processes.

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1
Medical Education Department, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia Health Campus, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Medical training is often regarded as a stressful period. Studies have previously found that 21.6%-50% of medical students experience significant psychological distress. The present study compared the prevalence and levels of psychological distress between 2 cohorts of first-year medical students that underwent different admission selection processes.

METHODS:

A comparative cross-sectional study was conducted by comparing 2 cohorts of first-year medical students; 1 group (cohort 1) was selected based purely on academic merit (2008/2009 cohort) and the other group (cohort 2) was selected based on academic merit, psychometric assessment, and interview performance (2009/2010 cohort). Their distress levels were measured by the General Health Questionnaire, and scores higher than 3 were considered indicative of significant psychological distress.

RESULTS:

The prevalence (P = 0.003) and levels (P = 0.001) of psychological distress were significantly different between the 2 cohorts. Cohort 1 had 1.2-3.3 times higher risk of developing psychological distress compared to cohort 2 (P = 0.007).

CONCLUSION:

Cohort 2 had better psychological health than cohort 1 and was less likely to develop psychological distress. This study provided evidence of a potential benefit of multimodal student selection based on academic merit, psychometric assessment, and interview performance. This selection process might identify medical students who will maintain better psychological health.

KEYWORDS:

medical; psychology; school admission criteria; student

PMID:
23610547
PMCID:
PMC3629662
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