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Coping with stress: A survey of Murdoch University veterinary students

Williams, S., Arnold, P. and Mills, J. (2005) Coping with stress: A survey of Murdoch University veterinary students. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 32 (2). pp. 201-212.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/jvme.32.2.201
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Abstract

Students in veterinary schools can experience stress in balancing the different demands on them-academic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and professional or work related-as well as managing potential conflict between animal and human interests. Practicing veterinarians report many similar stressors and reactions. Stressful stimuli produce stress reactions that can be inimical to physical and psychological well-being, and students' performance in veterinary programs can be adversely affected if they do not have coping resources. While there has been some research into stress among university students in general, and among medical students in particular, there is little on the experience of veterinary students. This article describes a study by the School of Psychology, commissioned by the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, at Murdoch University in Western Australia. It was designed to investigate the levels and causes of stress among, and the frequency and type of coping strategies used by, fourth- and fifth-year students. Results indicate that the students in this cohort faced frequent stressors and felt at least moderately stressed but did not routinely and systematically use a range of coping strategies. Academic stressors and perceived responsibilities attached to moving into practical or professional areas figured strongly and were associated with higher levels of stress in the students, in particular physical sequelae. Though the numbers were small, it is of concern that some students were using measures that were potentially harmful. Some recommendations are made here about measures that veterinary programs may be able to incorporate to address stress in their students. Information is included on current strategies within the curriculum to manage potential stressful situations as part of students' professional development.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary Studies
Publisher: Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
Copyright: Copyright © 2005 by Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
Notes: In collaboration with students Shelley A. Todd, Penelope M. Wilson, and Carla M. Wright
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/1133
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