Factors causing stress in postgraduate dental students during COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional survey
Ruchi Juneja1, Neha Sikka2, Varun Kumar1, Savita Chahal3, Mayank Arora4, Mitali Middha4, Ruchi Singhal5
1 Department of Dentistry, Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College, Karnal, Haryana, India
2 Department of Dental Materials, Postgraduate Institute of Dental Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College, Karnal, Haryana, India
4 Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Postgraduate Institute of Dental Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana, India
5 Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Postgraduate Institute of Dental Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana, India
Dr. Varun Kumar
Room No. 311, OPD Block, Department of Dentistry, Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College, Karnal, Haryana
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the academic and clinical training of postgraduate dental students. This study aimed to assess various factors causing psychological stress in them, and the extent of stress perception during pandemic.
Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 250 postgraduate students from nine dental colleges of Haryana and National Capital Region, India, responded to an online questionnaire sent electronically to them in September 2020, which included modified dental environment stress (DES) score, Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and questions regarding COVID-associated stress (CAS). Students already diagnosed with any psychiatric disorder or having a history of any major adverse event during the last 6 months likely to affect their psychological health were excluded from this study. The data obtained were analyzed using Chi-square test, Independent t-test, univariate ANOVA with post hoc tests, Pearson moment correlation, and multiple hierarchical regression tests. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: DES score was moderate for 48.8% and high for 34.4% of the participants. PSS was moderate for 69.2% and high for 18.8% of the participants. The most stressful factor in dental environment was the pattern of university examination, while the most stressful factor specific to COVID-19 was the fear of family members contracting the infection. PSS score was significantly higher in female participants. DES and CAS scores were significantly higher in students staying in hostels. Multiple hierarchical regression model depicted gender, mean health, and DES score as significant predictors of PSS.
Conclusion: Postgraduate dental students reported the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic upon their training and prospects as a reason for the increase in stress.