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Psychological Distress and Lifestyle of Malay Medical Students


avatar Zafirah Hani Ramli 1 , avatar Salwa Hanim Mohd Saifuddin 1 , avatar Nur Farah Liyana Kamaruddin 1 , avatar Muhammad Wafiuddin Ahmad 1 , avatar Nurzhafri Zakaria 1 , avatar Nor Aini Mohd Noor 2 , avatar Eizwan Hamdie Yusoff 3 , avatar Salmi Razali 3 , *

1 Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

2 Discipline of Population Health and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

3 Discipline of Psychological and Behavioural Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

How to Cite: Hani Ramli Z, Hanim Mohd Saifuddin S, Liyana Kamaruddin N F, Wafiuddin Ahmad M, Zakaria N, et al. Psychological Distress and Lifestyle of Malay Medical Students. J Med Edu. 2016;15(2):e105490.
doi: 10.22037/jme.v15i2.10243.


Journal of Medical Education: 15 (2); e105490
Published Online: July 20, 2016
Article Type: Research Article
Received: October 12, 2015
Accepted: June 28, 2016


Background and Purpose: Medical education is a laborious program which may give negative consequences on the physical and psychological health of medical students. The aims of this study were to evaluate psychological distress among Malay medical students and to assess its relationship with their lifestyle.Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 221 Malay medical students. Psychological distress and lifestyle were assessed using Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21) and Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile II (HPLPII) respectively.Results: About 30.8% of Malay medical students had mild to extremely severe depressive symptoms, 62.9 % showed mild to extremely severe anxiety symptoms, and 34.9% of them had mild to extremely severe stress. The depressive subscale was significantly higher among female than male students (Z=-2.613, P=0.009). There was a significant negative correlation between total psychological distress and spiritual growth (r=-0.217, P=0.001). Depression was found not only negatively correlated with spiritual growth (r =-0.328, P=0.000) but also interpersonal relationship (r=-0.161, P=0.016). Stress was inversely correlated with physical activity (r =-0.172, P=0.011). Preclinical students had significantly better scores in health responsibility (Z=-2.301, P=0.021), interpersonal relationship (Z=-2.840, P=0.005), stress management (Z=-2.339, P=0.019), spiritual growth (Z=-2.483, P=0.013) and nutrition and diet (Z =-2.456, P=0.014) than clinical students.Conclusions: Malay medical students had significant symptoms that indicate psychological distress that related to their lifestyle. This warrants further psychiatric evaluation and management for them to be good and safe future doctors.


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© 2016, Journal of Medical Education. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.