Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 158–164 | Cite as

A Systematic Review of Stress-Management Programs for Medical Students

  • Malan T. ShiralkarEmail author
  • Toi B. Harris
  • Florence F. Eddins-Folensbee
  • John H. Coverdale
Original Article



Because medical students experience a considerable amount of stress during training, academic leaders have recognized the importance of developing stress-management programs for medical students. The authors set out to identify all controlled trials of stress-management interventions and determine the efficacy of those interventions.


The authors searched the published English-language articles on PsycINFO and Pub Med, using a combination of the following search terms: stress-management, distress, burnout, coping, medical student, wellness. Both randomized, controlled trials and controlled, non-randomized trials of stress-management programs were selected and critically appraised.


A total of 13 randomized, controlled trials or controlled, non-randomized trials were identified. Interventions included self-hypnosis, meditation, mindfulness-based stress-reduction, feedback on various health habits, educational discussion, changes in the length and type of curriculum, and changes in the grading system. Only one study was identified to be of very high quality, although several had described group differences at baseline, used blinding, had good follow-up, and used validated assessment tools. There was a wide heterogeneity of outcome measures used. Interventions that were supported by a reduction in stress and anxiety in medical students included mindfulness-based stress-reduction or meditation techniques, self-hypnosis, and pass/fail grading.


Significant opportunities to advance educational research in this field exist by developing more high-quality studies with particular attention to randomization techniques and standardizing outcome measures.


Medical Student Academic Psychiatry Maslach Burnout Inventory Yoga Intervention United States Medical License Examination 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malan T. Shiralkar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Toi B. Harris
    • 2
  • Florence F. Eddins-Folensbee
    • 3
  • John H. Coverdale
    • 2
  1. 1.Baylor College of MedicineHouston
  2. 2.Dept. of Psychiatry & PediatricsBaylor College of MedicineHouston
  3. 3.University of Texas Health Science CenterSan Antonio

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