Study of factors of stress formation among first year medical students and its influence on memory processes. Recommendations for stress reducing and memory improving among students

Determination of the psychological characteristics of a stress response among first-year medical students. The educational process as a strong intellectual and emotional overload. The strongest factors in the formation of stress disorders among students.

Рубрика Психология
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 14.05.2018
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Study of factors of stress formation among first year medical students and its influence on memory processes. Recommendations for stress reducing and memory improving among students

O.M. Sukachova

D.M. Voloshyna

V.N. Karazin

Experiences of stress in training and, especially, in the examination period for any student is usual. The ability to cope with stress is the key to success in all educational activity. Unfortunately, not everyone can overcome stress and it often leads to deterioration of memory processes [1]. More pronounced level of stress among students of medical schools is identified: medical students consequently suffer from depression, anxiety, and stress [2-7].

Purpose and objectives of the study

Study of the stress factors formation and stress resistance in first-year medical students, and characteristics of its influence on memory processes are provided.

Research objectives:

To substantiate the influence of stress factors on the memory processes.

To identify the characteristics of the stress causes among students of the 1 year.

To determine the level of logical (semantic) and mechanical memory among the first-year students.

Highlight the main recommendations for students to overcome the stress and improve memory.

Materials and methods

To identify the psychological characteristics of the stress response among 77 first-year medical students of School of Medicine of V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University (24 boys and 53 girls) aged from 16 to 23 years were examined to determine the academic stress by a test developed by U.V. Shcherbatyh. This test allows you to specify the main causes of academic stress, identify the symptoms of stress and the main stress reduction techniques by students [2]. All students were considered as healthy people.

Processing of the results was performed using Microsoft Office XL 2010 Software [8].

Results of research and discussion

The study has revealed that students of the first year feel the education process as the strong intellectual and emotional overload. Emotional stress has been especially worsened due to long exam expectation, too demanding teacher, complicated subjects and tight time limits. But, on the other hand, cases of emotional and constructive behavior under stress have been identified when the students have been experiencing increased intellectual activity, did not feel strong emotional experiences, but only were focusing their attention on the existing problem. Thus, short and not strong stress can sometimes even "spur" the ability to remember, but if stress becomes prolonged, it will definitely have negative impact on the memory.

When studying the students' using the academic stress test, the most pronounced causes of stress have been allocated: among young men - lack of textbooks, and among girls - inability to organize their daily routine, shyness and timidity. The most powerful factors in the formation of stress disorders among all students, regardless of gender, were irregular meals and a large workload.

Features of the causes of stress among medical students of both genders are given in Table 1.

Table 1. Table of average index of semantic and mechanical memory (in points)


Index of semantic memory

The index of mechanical memory





1st curse (M±m)


0,89 ±0,03



Table 2. Features of the causes of stress (UV ShCherbatyh questionnaire)

First year students

F (n=53)

М (n=24)


Number of respondents (%)

Large academic load



Fear of the future



Unwillingness to learn



Incomprehensible textbooks



Finance limitation



Strict teachers



The problems in private life



Irregular meals



Inability to organize the daily regime



Shyness and timidity



Overly serious attitude to study



Lack of textbooks



Living far away from parents



The conflict in the group



The problem of living together with other students



It should be noted that the girls had lower factor "problem of living together with other students", which proves the better adaptation possibility of females in the social environment and a lighter adaptability when working in a group.

Research of the logical (semantic) and mechanical memory has showed that the average value of the logical (semantic) memory index among both girls and young men was higher than average mechanical memory index. But at the same time, it was revealed as an interesting fact that all indicators of meaningful and mechanical memory among girls were mostly higher than those among boys. This may indicate that women are more attentive and are better able to focus on the learning activity process (Table 2).

Based on the study, we can conclude that all students in the learning activities are subject to strong emotional experiences, which have a profound influence on the memory processes and the cognitive sphere in general.

A large workload and a wrong mode of the day contribute to the students' chronic stress state development. And it should be noted that, according to the study, girls cope with the stress state much faster and are better able to adapt to any type of activity than young men.

Based on the results of the research, as well as on the basis of personal experience with students of this profile of disorders [9], the authors of the article developed an algorithm of recommendations providing comprehensive help to students to reduce stress and improve memory.

Recommendations for reducing stress and improving memory:

students need to keep the day regime, to monitor sleeping, rest and nutrition; to plan properly educational activities and independent work; to engage actively in sports, visit sports grounds and gyms; to take part in students' research and study teams; to use memory training techniques such as "names and faces", "words", "poetry" and the most important recipe is - every day, being in different places, to make a conscious effort to memorize something;

parents need, no matter how far their child leaves, not to lose contact with him/ her, to support morally, to be interested in his/her affairs; to inspire optimism and belief in success; to perceive him as an independent person;

- tutors of groups need to be more attentive to this category of students, to the changes that occur with them, especially if they are first-year students. To assist in the process of adaptation, to carry out actions that improve the psychophysical development, health promotion; to work for the prevention of deviant behavior, bad habits; to monitor the attendance, with the identification of passes without valid reasons; to monitor academic progress; to be sure to involve these students in collaboration with other students to form a positive emotional connections between them and the members of the study group; to promote self-education and self-development of personality;

- psychologists should timely conduct psychological counseling to determine the main sources of disadaptation; to involve students to participate in socio-psychological training aimed at improving communication skills, in formation of adequate self-esteem, raising the level of social intelligence.

Compliance with the above recommendations will contribute to the improvement of socio-psychological adaptation and formation of a successful personality, - the future specialist in the field of educational and labor activities.


psychological emotional overload stress

1. Grigor'eva N.V. Obrazovanie kak faktor protsessa professional'nogo samoopredeleniya molodezhi, ee adaptatsii v sovremennykh usloviyakh [Education as a factor in the process of professional self-determination of youth, its adaptation in modern conditions]. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya XXI stoletiya [pod red. V.V. Kozlova] [Social psychology of the XXI century [ed. V.V. Kozlova]]. Yaroslavl, 2004, vol. 1, pp. 179-185. (In Russ.)

2. Voloshyna D.M., Sukachova O.M. Study of factors of stress formation among medical students and its gender characteristic. The Collection of Humanitarian Studies, 2016, no. 3. Available at: (accesse 23.01.2017).

3. Henning K., Ey S., Shaw D. Perfectionism, the imposter phenomenon and psychological adjustment in medical, dental, nursing and pharmacy students. Med Educ. 1998, no. 32, pp. 456-464.

4. Helmers K. F., Danoff D., Steinert Y., Leyton M., Young S. N. Stress and depressed mood in medical students, law students, and graduate students at McGill University. Academic Medicine, 1997, August, vol. 72, issue 8, pp. 708-714.

5. Dyrbye L.N., Thomas M.R., Eacker A. [et al.] Race, ethnicity, and medical student well-being in the United States. Arch Intern Med., 2007, no. 167, pp. 2103-2109.

6. Yusoff M.S., Abdul Rahim A.F., Baba A.A., Ismail S.B., Mat Pa M.N., Esa A.R. The impact of medical education on psychological health of students: a cohort study. Psychol Health Med., 2013, no. 18, pp. 420-430.

7. Schernhammer E.S., Colditz G.A. Suicide rates among physicians: a quantitative and gender assessment (meta-analysis). Am. J. Psychiatry, 2004, no. 161, pp. 2295-2302.

8. Lapach S.N., Chubenko A.V., Babich P.N. Statisticheskie metody v mediko-biologicheskikh issledovaniyakh s ispol'zovaniem Excel [Statistical methods in biomedical research using Excel]. Kyiv, Morion Publ., 2001,408 p. (In Russ.)

9. Sukachova O.M., Voloshyna D.M. Formation of adaptive abilities among first-year medical students. Problems of modern education: a collection of scientific and methodological works. Kharkiv, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv national university, 2017.

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