Medical students display a high prevalence of psychopathological symptomatology, stress and burnout, which may continue in their time as resident and fully qualified doctors. The aim of this study is to evaluate and compare the effects of a mindfulness-based programme on these variables in an experimental group of medical students who underwent the intervention programme compared to a control group who did not.
A quasi-experimental study of two independent groups (experimental and control) with two repeated measures (pre and post) was performed. Eight sessions of 2-h duration each were held over the course of 16 weeks. A total of 143 students participated in the study, 68 in the intervention group and 75 in the control group. A sociodemographic questionnaire was administered along with the Symptom Checklist-90-R (SCL-90-R), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Student Survey (MBI-SS).
Our study revealed a clear improvement compared to the control group in perceived stress and psychopathological symptomatology, in the Global Severity Index, Positive Symptom Total and the primary symptom dimensions of somatization, obsessive compulsive, interpersonal sensitivity and anxiety of the SCL-90-R. The improvement was significant at both intra- and intergroup level. No impact was found on the level of burnout.
The mindfulness-based programme that was used resulted in an improvement in psychopathological symptomatology and stress, with no effect observed on BO score. This study can contribute to the design of a training programme to promote effective self-care and stress management strategies for both medical students and doctors.