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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1989 Feb;177(2):70-6.

Medical student distress. A longitudinal study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


This longitudinal study investigated the relative importance of correlates of psychological distress in first year medical students (N = 312) in September and May. Anxiety levels were one SD above the mean when compared with nonpatient levels in both September and May, and the percentage of students reporting depression doubled over the study period. Problem-focused coping decreased, emotion-focused coping increased, and satisfaction with social supports decreased over the year. In contrast, type A behavior and anger expression were more stable. Students distressed in September were at higher risk for distress in May. Students distressed in May were also characterized by higher scores for suppressed anger and type A behavior in May, even after controlling for distress in September.

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