Problem-focused Coping Controls Burnout in Medical Students: The Case of a Selected Medical School in Kenya
Shadrack O. Ogoma

The consequences of burnout are dire yet little attention has been focused on it among medical students in a problem-based curriculum. The purpose of the current study was to establish the prevalence of burnout and its relationship with coping among medical students. It was predicted that the prevalence of burnout would be high and that problem-focused coping would reduce burnout while avoidant and emotion-focused coping would worsen it. A purposive sample of 182 medical students selected from a medical school in Kenya provided self-report data on coping strategies and components of burnout. A greater proportion of students suffered moderate to high burnout. Correlational analyses showed that problem-focused coping significantly lowered emotional exhaustion and the sense of reduced personal accomplishment. Emotion-focused coping significantly reduced the sense of reduced personal accomplishment contrary to the expectation. Avoidant coping elevated emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. In general, the hypothesis that problem-focused coping would ameliorate burnout was supported. It is recommended that medical students be coached on the engagement coping approaches to shield them from the adverse effects of burnout.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jpbs.v8n1a8