The effect of a one-day mindfulness intervention on psychological distress among pre-clinical medical students: A randomized controlled trial.
Maher D. Fuad Fuad (1,2), Munn Sann Lye (3), Normala Ibrahim (4), Siti Irma Fadhillah Ismail (4), Phang Cheng Kar (5).
PhD Candidate, Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences (FMHS), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).
New Zealand Management Academies, Faculty of Health, Auckland, New Zealand.
Department of Community Health, FMHS, UPM.
Department of Psychiatry, FMHS, UPM.
Behavioral Health Centre, Sunway Medical Centre.
Background: Mental distress is common among medical students. Several studies have shown positive effects of mindfulness training on medical student's emotional health. However, the duration of those interventions are typically 4-8 weeks and therefore more time-consuming to deliver.
Objective: To determine the effect of a one-day mindfulness-based workshop (MINDFULGym) on psychological distress among preclinical medical students.
Methodology: This study was a non-blinded randomized controlled trial. We screened a total of n=237 preclinical undergraduate medical students for their psychological distress. A total of n=92 students (39%) with high scores of distress (a score of ≥ 14 measured by the Mental Health Screening Instrument (Saringan Status Kesihatan Mental: SSKM-20) were voluntarily recruited for the study. Subjects were randomly allocated to the intervention and wait-listed control groups on a 1:1 ratio. The researchers administered the SSKM questionnaire before and eight weeks after the intervention (two weeks before the end of second semester examination).
Results: Intention-to-treat analysis using repeated measures analyses of covariance showed significant mean scores reduction of psychological distress (p=0.002) in the intervention group compared to the wait-listed control group.
Conclusion: The easier-to-deliver one-day mindfulness program was able to reduce psychological distress among medical students.
Keywords: psychological distress, mindfulness, medical students, Malaysia.