Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 311–331

A biopsychosocial model of medical student distress

  • Peter P. Vitaliano
  • Roland D. Maiuro
  • Joan Russo
  • Ellen S. Mitchell
  • John E. Carr
  • Robert L. Van Citters
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00844933

Cite this article as:
Vitaliano, P.P., Maiuro, R.D., Russo, J. et al. J Behav Med (1988) 11: 311. doi:10.1007/BF00844933

Abstract

Medical student distress was examined in two consecutive first-year classes (N=312) in September, before they interacted with the school regimen, and again in May before exams. Anxiety means were one SD above the normative mean for nonpatients at both times. The number of students reporting a significant level of depression doubled from September (N=36) to May (N=78). The correlation of distress in September and May was .40, indicating that for many students distress was enduring. A biopsychosocial model of initial distress explained more variance (36%) in the cross-validation sample than did any one variable alone. Distressed students had higher Type A scores. Also, anger held in was a risk factor for distress in students with a family history of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Students who hold anger in may experience prolonged stress which, coupled with a family history of CVD, could make them psychobiologically vulnerable to distress.

Key words

distress cardiovascular disease personality medical students anger Type A pattern 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter P. Vitaliano
    • 1
  • Roland D. Maiuro
    • 1
  • Joan Russo
    • 1
  • Ellen S. Mitchell
    • 1
  • John E. Carr
    • 1
  • Robert L. Van Citters
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, RP-10University of Washington Medical SchoolSeattle
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of Washington Medical SchoolSeattle

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