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16-05-2020 | REVIEW | Uitgave 9/2020

Mindfulness 9/2020

A Systematic Narrative Review on Stress-Management Interventions for Medical Students

Mindfulness > Uitgave 9/2020
Chiara Buizza, Valentina Ciavarra, Alberto Ghilardi
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The objectives of this study are to identify all studies for stress-management carried out in medical students, in order to analyze their impact on psychological distress and on academic performance, and to assess how these interventions are incorporated into the medical education curriculum. For this purpose, a systematic narrative review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement.


A systematic search was performed in PubMed, Embase, and PsycInfo, using the following keywords: “stress” AND (“intervention” OR “treatment”) AND (“college” OR “university”) AND “medical” AND “student.” The quality of study was assessed using the Cochrane quality assessment tool and the Methodological Index for Nonrandomized Studies.


Seventeen studies were included in the review: 3 randomized controlled trials and 14 non-randomized. The results have identified different stress-management interventions, mainly focused on mindfulness programs. Most studies were also carried out on the pre-clinical students in the first 2 years. Results showed that students who attended stress-management interventions had a decrease in their stress level; conversely, the data concerning the decrease in depression scores were contrasting.


Findings suggest that stress-management programs may be helpful for medical students, but further studies are needed to assess a broader range of outcomes, including the correlation of stress-reduction with academic and health conditions.

Trial Registration

Prospective Registering of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO). Identifier: CRD42019130789.

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