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  • Risk factors associated with student distress in medical school: Associations with faculty support and availability of wellbeing resources. PloS one Langness, S., Rajapuram, N., Marshall, M., Rahman, A. S., Sammann, A. 2022; 17 (4): e0265869


    It is estimated that over half of medical students experience severe distress, a condition that correlates with low mental quality-of-life, suicidal ideation and serious thoughts of dropping out. While several risk factors for the development of severe distress have been identified, most focus on individual student characteristics. Currently, little is known about the impact medical schools have on student wellbeing.Prospective, observational survey study from 2019-2020 from a national cohort of US medical students. Student wellbeing, school characteristics, and wellbeing resource availability was measured with a 30-question electronic survey. Medical student distress was defined as a Medical Student Wellbeing Index (MS-WBI) of ≥4. Risk factors for the development of severe distress were evaluated in a multivariate logistic regression model. The impact of the number of wellbeing resources available on student wellbeing was measured along multiple wellbeing domains. Independent reviewers categorized free text analysis of survey responses about desired wellbeing resources into themes.A total of 2,984 responses were included in the study, representing 45 unique medical schools. Medical school characteristics independently associated with severe distress included low faculty support (OR 4.24); the absence of mentorship resources (OR 1.63) and the absence of community building programs (OR 1.45) in a multivariate model. Increased availability of wellbeing resources was associated with lower average MS-WBI (4.58 vs. 3.19, p<0;05) and a smaller percentage of students who had taken or considered taking a leave of absence (40% vs. 16%, p<0.05). The resources most desired by students were mental health services and scheduling adjustments.The majority of medical school characteristic that contribute to student distress are modifiable. Improving faculty support and offering more and varied wellbeing resources may help to mitigate medical student distress. Student feedback is insightful and should be routinely incorporated by schools to guide wellbeing strategies.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0265869

    View details for PubMedID 35395007