OJEpi  Vol.7 No.2 , May 2017
The Relationship between Eating Disorders and Stress among Medical Undergraduate: A Cross-Sectional Study
Abstract: Introduction: Eating disorders are compulsive behaviours that can consume a person’s life to the point of becoming life threatening. Medical college can be a very stressful time and previous studies had found that stress could be a main factor leading to higher risk of eating disorder. We aimed to determine the association between stress and eating disorders among undergraduate medical students. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 320 respondents comprises of Year 3, 4 and 5 medical students in private medical college in Malaysia, assessed using self-administered questionnaires which consist of social demographic data, EAT-26 and Cohen Perceived Stress Scale. The response rate of this study was 77.4%. Results: With regards to EAT-26, 11.0% of medical students were at risk of developing eating disorder and from this students who have obese BMI status (25%) had 3.9 times more likely to develop eating disorder (95% CI: 1.4 - 10.9). There was significant association between those with unsatisfactory social relationship with friends and peers (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.0 - 5.9; p value 0.035) and risk of developing eating disorders (OR 3.9, 95% CI 1.4 - 10.9; p value 0.007). For Cohen Perceived Stress Scale (CPSS), 75.5% of the respondents were having high stress level. There was no significant association between stress and the risk of eating disorders with OR 1.0, 95% CI: 0.6 - 1.7; p value 0.887. Conclusion: Majority of medical undergraduates were under stressed and there was a risky trend toward eating disorders in medical. However, based on our results it did not portray any significant association between stress and risk of developing eating disorders. Nevertheless, it should not be completely neglected. It is important to increase the awareness of medical undergraduates regarding eating disorders and its complications.
Cite this paper: Ngan, S. , Chern, B. , Rajarathnam, D. , Balan, J. , Hong, T. and Tiang, K. (2017) The Relationship between Eating Disorders and Stress among Medical Undergraduate: A Cross-Sectional Study. Open Journal of Epidemiology, 7, 85-95. doi: 10.4236/ojepi.2017.72008.

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