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C.B. Dogaru1, M. Cojocaru2, C. Toma1, C. Duta1, V. Ibric-Cioranu3, A. Dumitrescu4

1University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Carol Davila", Bucharest (ROMANIA)
2University "Titu Maiorescu", Bucharest (ROMANIA)
3University “Lucian Blaga”, Sibiu (ROMANIA)
4Private practice, Bucharest (ROMANIA)
To descriptively assess medical and dental students' levels of perceived stress during first academic year.

A cross-sectional survey was performed among 259 first year medical and dental students from University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila”, Bucharest. In academic year 2011-2012, Perceived Stress Scale 10 scale was given to the students a month before semester examinations Data were collected using anonymous questionnaires.

The results revealed statistical different values between medical and dental students on the overall PSS-10 score (18.59 ± 6.18 vs. 21.03 ± 6.14, P = 0.007) and on particular item 6: “In the last month, how often have you found that you could not cope with all the things that you had to do?” (2.00 ± 0.99 vs. 2.29 ± 0.94, P = 0.03), item 8: “In the last month, how often have you felt that you were on top of things?” (1.93 ± 0.88 vs.2.18 ± 0.86, P = 0.04), item 9:”In the last month, how often have you been angered because of things that were outside of your control?” (2.11 ± 0.96 vs. 2.45 ± 0.99, P = 0.01) and item 10: ” In the last month, how often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them?” (1.66 ± 1.06 vs. 2.18 ± 1.12, P = 0.001). Female students reported higher perceived stress scores than their male colleagues on the overall score (20.21 ± 6.45 vs. 16.36 ± 6.70, P < 0.0001) and on items 2 (P = 0.003), 3 (P = 0.001), 4 (P < 0.0001), 6 (P < 0.0001), 8 (P = 0.002), 9 (P = 0.004) and 10 (P = 0.01). Stress levels were related to the economical status of the students (P < 0.05) but not to ages or smoking behavior (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: The high level of stress among Romanian medical and dental first year students necessitates further studies to analyze the sources of stress and coping strategies among undergraduates as well as psychological support to improve the student's well-being.