Stress and coping strategies among arab medical students: Towards a research agenda

M. A. Elzubeir, K. E. Elzubeir, M. E. Magzoub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Research conducted in the past ten years in the area of stress and coping among Arab medical students has identified some important issues, but other significant aspects have not yet been explored. Objectives: To provide a systematic review of studies reporting on stress, anxiety and coping among Arab medical students and to identify implications for future research. Methods: PubMed was searched to identify peer-reviewed English-language studies published between January 1998 and October 2009 reporting on stress and coping among undergraduate Arab medical students. Search strategy used combinations of the terms: Arab medical student, stress, PBL, psychological distress, depression, anxiety and coping strategies. Demographic information on respondents, instruments used, prevalence data and statistically significant associations were abstracted. Results: The search identified 8 articles that met the specified inclusion criteria. Within the limited range of Arab medical students studied, studies suggest these students have a high prevalence of perceived stress, depression and anxiety, with levels of perceived psychological stress as high as those reported in the international literature for medical students of other regions of the world. Limited data were available regarding coping strategies, the impact of stress on academic performance and attrition among Arab students. No data were available regarding the impact of problem-based learning on stress and coping. Conclusions: The existing literature confirms that stress, depression and anxiety are common among Arab medical students, as for students elsewhere. Little is known about the contribution of different curricula approaches to perceived stress and what coping strategies institutions and students apply to help alleviate stress. Large, prospective, multicentre, multi-method studies are needed to identify personal and curricula features that influence stress, depression, anxiety and coping strategies among Arab students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalEducation for Health: Change in Learning and Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Arab
  • Coping
  • Literature review
  • Medical students
  • Research
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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