Students' psychological distress in an English program embedded in a medical school in a non-English speaking country

Yukari Yamada1, Elizabete Loureiro2, Miloslav Klugar1, Adam Tancred1, Katerina Ivanova1 and Ivana Oborna1

1Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palacky University, Czech Republic

2Centre for Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, Portugal

Submitted: 30/07/2013; Accepted: 23/11/2013; Published: 22/12/2013

Int J Med Educ. 2013; 4:260-266; doi: 10.5116/ijme.5290.ae54

© 2013 Yukari Yamada et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: To clarify if medical students in an English program in a non-English speaking country are exposed to a higher risk of psychological distress compared to comparable local medical students.

Methods: An online survey was conducted for all medical students both in the English program exclusively for international students (n=235) and in the local program (n=1043) at the Palacky University in the Czech Republic. The Medical Student Well-Being Index (MSWBI) was used to define the student's psychological distress. Logistic regressions were conducted to find an effect of the study program on the students' psychological distress, adjusted by age, study year, marital status, residential status, and frequency of contact with significant others, stratified by gender.

Results: Forty four percent (n=68) of the respondents in the English program screened positive for psychological distress, and 53% (n=221) in the local program. There was an interaction between gender and program in the association with psychological distress. The higher prevalence of psychological distress in the local program was likely attributed to female students who had frequent contacts with their significant others.

Conclusions: Psychological distress was highly prevalent in a Czech medical school, but there was no overall difference between the international students in the English program and the comparable local medical students.