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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 125-132

Burnout prevalence and associated stressors in medical students of traditional and problem-based learning curricula in a Saudi University

1 College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam; Department of Surgery, King Fahd Hospital of the University, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
2 College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
3 College of Medicine; Department of Family and Community Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia; Department of Biostatistics, High Institute of Public Health, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Aldanah Mohammed Althwanay
College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjmms.sjmms_301_19

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Background: Medical students are prone to burnout, and several stressors have been associated with it. From the literature, it is yet unclear if type of curricula in medical schools plays a role in burnout among students. Aims: To assess the prevalence of burnout and its associated stressors in medical students in problem-based learning and traditional curricula at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University. Subjects and Methods: The analytical, cross-sectional study was conducted between February and May 2017 and included all third- to sixth-year medical students of Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia. In the 2016–2017 academic year, third- and fourth-year students were in problem-based learning, whereas fifth- and sixth-year students were in traditional learning. All eligible students were verbally invited to complete a 56-item questionnaire comprising three sections eliciting sociodemographic information, level of burnout (using a modified Copenhagen Burnout Inventory with personal, medical school- and faculty-related subsections) and stressors associated with burnout. Burnout was measured using a Likert-type scale, and scores of >50 were considered as high burnout. Chi-square and logistic regression analysis were used for statistical analysis. Results: Of 947 eligible students, 593 (62.6%) completed the questionnaire: 317 (53.5%) were in problem-based learning and 276 (46.5%) in traditional learning. Of these, 329 (55.5%) had high burnout, with no difference between type of curricula (problem-based learning = 178 [56.2%]; traditional = 151 [54.7%]; P = 0.73). All measured stressors were significantly associated with high burnout, including lack of sleep (odds ratio [OR] = 2.139, P = 0.005) and perceiving teaching staff as inflexible and unsupportive (OR = 2.995,P < 0.001). Conclusions: This study found high prevalence of burnout among medical students in a university from Saudi Arabia, but no significant difference between students in problem-based learning and traditional curricula. A longitudinal study is recommended to better understand the long-term effect of type of curricula on burnout.

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