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Social support contributes to resilience among physiotherapy students: a cross sectional survey and focus group study

Abstract

Objective

The present study, taking a resource-oriented approach to mental health, aimed at investigating mental resilience and its determinants among undergraduate physiotherapy students using quantitative and qualitative tools.

Design

A questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey supplemented by 2 focus groups.

Setting

One university in Hungary.

Participants

130 physiotherapy students at years 1, 2, and 3.

Main outcome measures

Sense of coherence, a measure of dynamic self-esteem, as well as social support from family and peers were used to assess mental well-being. A screening instrument for psychological morbidity and perceived stress were used as deficiency-oriented approaches. Student opinions were gathered on positive and negative determinants of mental health.

Results

Resilience was lower [mean difference 4.8 (95% CI −3.4; 13.1)], and the occurrence of psychological morbidity (32.5% vs. 0%) was higher among female compared to male students. However, the proportion of students fully supported by their peers was higher among females (63% vs. 37.5%). Female students, unlike their male counterparts, experienced higher stress compared to their peers in the general population. Social support declined as students progressed in their studies though this proved to be the most important protective factor for their mental well-being.

Conclusions

Results were fed back to the course organizers recommending the implementation of an evidence-based method to improve social support as delineated by the Guide to Community Preventive Services of the US the outcomes of which are to be seen in the future.

Cite this article

Social support contributes to resilience among physiotherapy students: a cross sectional survey and focus group study.

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