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Examining alcohol use in British medical students

Pattinson, Hayley; (2000) Examining alcohol use in British medical students. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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In 1998 the BMA published a report outlining the growing concerns of alcohol misuse within the medical profession. Although research has indicated problems of alcohol misuse within medical profession, little is known about the antecedents of this misuse and whether patterns of alcohol use identified within qualified medical practitioners begin at medical school. This study therefore aimed to assess the extent of alcohol use by medical students attending a London university', to determine if their alcohol use differed from other students' alcohol use. This study also examined psychological well being within this student group, to determine if this was associated with alcohol use. Finally, this study explored attitudes towards alcohol use within the student culture. Questionnaires packs were distributed to 1st and 3rd year medical and psychology students, during lectures. 5th year medical students were sent questionnaires by registered post. A total of 570 responses were received with a response rate of 98.2% obtained from questionnaires administered during lectures. Overall, levels of alcohol use did not differ between medical and psychology students. However, over half of all 1st and 3rd students were identified to be drinking at a harmful level, with 3rd year psychology students having the largest proportion (69%) drinking at this level. Alcohol consumption was also found to differ in the three years of medical students sampled, with 1st years drinking more than both 3rd and 5th years. A significant interaction was found between subject-group and year of study with respect to psychological distress and although anxiety levels were generally low there was a significant difference between the two groups. Levels of depression for both psychology and medical students were not clinically significant. No relationship was found between alcohol use and psychological distress or anxiety and alcohol was not used as a coping strategy for stress. This study raised a number of important issues regarding university students alcohol consumption and psychological well being. It has clear clinical and education implications, which are discussed in detail, together with proposals for future research.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy
Title: Examining alcohol use in British medical students
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Alcohol; Medical students
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098505
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