Published on Fri Jul 16 2021

Does Coaching in the 3rd Year of Medical School Affect Stress, Anxiety and Depression?

Ross, E. F., Faw, T. D., Covington, K.

Coaching is a possible way of supporting these students throughout this challenging time. Pilot study provided coaching to 12 third-year medical students. There was a significant effect of coaching on perceived stress and no effect on depression.

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Abstract

Abstract Background: Medical students experience significant stress and anxiety during undergraduate education. Coaching is a possible way of supporting these students throughout this challenging time. To assess the benefits of coaching for medical students, a pilot study providing coaching was performed. This pilot assessed how coaching affected the mental health of medical students and how coaching was received by them. Methods: Twelve third-year medical students were each given eight 30-60 minute coaching sessions. Each participant took the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) pre-, mid-and post-coaching. After coaching, there were three open-ended questions to measure the reactions to coaching and a scale to determine the likelihood of accessing coaching in the future. Results: There was a significant effect of coaching on perceived stress(p=.023); a trend toward significant effect of coaching on anxiety(p=.057); and no effect of coaching on depression. Qualitative analysis indicated Affective responses (gaining perspective and self-awareness); Cognitive responses (goal setting and working through solving problems); and Skills responses (developing reflection abilities and critical thinking). Attributes of coaching included perceiving coaching as a positive, individualized and supportive experience that students were highly likely to access again. Conclusions: Coaching holds promise as an intervention offered to medical students to reduce stress and anxiety, and provide positive support for students, preparing them for their professional futures.