Dynamically changing mental stress parameters of first-year medical students over the three-year course of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Numerous research results have already pointed towards the negative influence of increased mental stress on educational processes and motivational criteria. It has also been shown that the global public health crisis induced by COVID-19 was related to anxiety symptoms and elevated levels of distress. To holistically elucidate the dynamics of the pandemic-related mental stress of first-year medical students, the associated parameters of three different cohorts were measured at the beginning of the pandemic-related restrictions on university life in Germany (20/21), at the peak of the COVID-19-related restrictions (21/22) and during the easing of the restrictions in the winter term 22/23. In a repeated cross-sectional study design, the constructs of worries, tension, demands and joy were collected from first-year medical students (\(\it n\) = 578) using the Perceived Stress Questionnaire. The results demonstrate significantly increased values of the constructs worries (\(\it p\) < 0.001), tension (\(\it p\) < 0.001) and demands (\(\it p\) < 0.001) at the peak of the pandemic related restrictions compared to the previous and following year as well as significantly decreasing values of general joy of life during the observed period of 3 years (all \(\it p\)-values < 0.001). A confirmatory factor analysis was performed to verify the questionnaire's factor structure regarding the addressed target group during the pandemic (CFI: 0.908, RMSEA: 0.071, SRMR: 0.052). These data, collected over a period of three years, provide information regarding dynamically manifesting mental stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, and refer to new areas of responsibility for the faculties to adequately counteract future crisis situations.

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Author:Morris GellischORCiDGND, Martin BablokORCiDGND, Gabriela Morosan-PuopoloORCiDGND, Thorsten SchäferGND, Beate Brand-SaberiORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Healthcare
Subtitle (English):a repeated cross-sectional study
Place of publication:Basel
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2024/01/12
Date of first Publication:2023/05/26
Publishing Institution:Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsbibliothek
Tag:Open Access Fonds
COVID-19; education; mental health; risk management; stress; vulnerable populations
Issue:11, Article 1558
First Page:1558-1
Last Page:1558-12
Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Open Access Publication Fund of Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
Institutes/Facilities:Institut für Anatomie, Abteilung für Anatomie und Molekulare Embryologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / Medizin, Gesundheit
open_access (DINI-Set):open_access
faculties:Medizinische Fakultät
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY 4.0 - Attribution 4.0 International