Life in a medical school is more challenging, when compared to other disciplines like arts and engineering. The innate nature of the medical curriculum and the demands of the profession have created extensive pressure on its students, leading to the prevalence of high stress levels and stress related disorders in them. The mental health of future doctors is very important for quality patient care. Hence it is high time for medical institutions to design interventions to mitigate this situation. A significant amount of research has gone into identifying the predominant stressors of medical education and the prevailing stress levels amongst medical students. However, there is dearth in research efforts that explicitly explain: the manifestation of stressors in different stages of medical education; coping strategies of students; and the kind of support required by the students to cope up with these challenges. Hence this study uses a phenomenological approach to understand the phenomenon of stress amongst medical students of a private medical college in South India. The study found that academic pressure, homesickness, faculty and institution related factors challenge the students. It was also found that the students require support to handle these challenges. These findings have interesting and important implications for institutions and policy makers, with respect to designing interventions to provide a congenial learning environment for our future doctors.


Phenomenology, Medical Students, Challenges

Author Bio(s)

R. Deepa is a faculty at PSG Institute of Management, Tamilnadu, India. During her industrial tenure of 8 years, she gained experience in managing projects with world-wide clients and is well-versed with ISO standards and auditing procedures. She has also served an MNC as Vice-President Human Relations. Her research focuses on Emotional Intelligence. She has 18 papers in Human resources and Emotional Intelligence, published in various International and National journals. She has delivered sessions on stress management, assertiveness and emotional intelligence in various forums and training programs. She conducts training programs on Emotional Intelligence for corporate executives and is keen in propagating Emotional Intelligence as the “Path to Well-Being”. Correspondence related to this article can be addressed to Dr. R. Deepa at PSG Institute of Management, PB# 1668, Avinashi Road, Peelamedu, Coimbatore – 641004, India, Phone: 91-422-4304400 and Email: deepa@psgim.ac.in.

Anuja Panicker is a Clinical Psychologist, working as a faculty in PSG Institute of medical Sciences and Research for past 10 years. Her work includes Psychotherapy, Assessment, teaching for undergraduate and Post Graduate medical and nursing students and guide for various research projects. She has 15 papers related to Child and Adolescent Mental Health published in various journals. She has also been an Invited Speaker to several forums for lectures related to Stress Management, Child Psychology, Life Skills Development and Human Relations. Her interactions with students at various levels drew her research interest into the area of assessing the true potential of students, in both cognitive as well as emotional intelligence domains.


The authors thank the University Grants Commission (UGC) for funding this project under Research Award Scheme.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.