Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Ajmer, Rajasthan, India

2 Department of Pharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

3 Medical Student, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India


OBJECTIVE: It is common among medical students to falsely attribute bodily sensations/symptoms
and holds a belief of having a medical illness with varying level of conviction. We studied and compared
this condition known as “medical student syndrome", a type of hypochondriasis, between preclinical
and clinical years students.
METHODOLOGY: This research was a descriptive study where a total of 100 students were
approached and were asked to complete a short form of health anxiety inventory (SHAI) which
has Cronbach’s alpha 0.855. No personal identifiers were included in the study questionnaires. All
statistical analyses were performed using the SPSS statistical software package (IBM SPSS Statistics
Version 23, SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA).
RESULTS: The response rate among participants was 88% (42 from preclinical and 48 from clinical
years of training). Health‑related anxiety (SHAI main section score ≥ 18) was found in 14.77%
of students with a higher proportion in preclinical than clinical, 16.66% and 13.04%, respectively.
The difference was not significant between the two groups (2 = 0.429 [1], P = 0.766). Students
having medical professional in family had lower rate of health‑related anxiety, 2 (1, n = 88) = 0.228,
P = 0.633. The association between family or personal history of psychiatry or medical illness was not
significant with SHAI scores. No relation was noted between current health anxiety (SHAI score) and
the number of visits to the doctor per year before entering the medical course ( = 0.174, P = 0.112).
CONCLUSION: Every seventh medical student was found to have health‑related anxiety. It was not
affected by personal and family history of either psychiatric or medical illness.


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