Paying it Forward: Stress management techniques provided to DPT students, by DPT students
Purpose: “There is a mental health crisis in graduate education.”1 Frank et al. reported that students in a PT program experience higher levels of stress and anxiety when compared to their peers.2 Similar results with higher levels of anxiety and depression among graduate students were seen when compared to general population.1 UC, Berkley conducted a study across graduate programs and a large percentage of doctoral students scored as depressed.3 Information is limited regarding the prevalence of anxiety and stress in DPT students.4 California State University, Fresno (CSUF) DPT program instituted focus-group meetings, in 2015, to identify common themes about stress/anxiety across 4 domains: curriculum, clinicals, professional, and personal. 42 DPT students participated and initial qualitative analysis identifed that DPT students reported stress with unknown expectations about the “process” of PT school and the “expectations” of a DPT program. Additional peer mentoring among academic DPT cohorts, as well as new activities embedded within the curriculum, have begun as a result. The hypothesis was that peer mentoring amongst enrolled DPT students will aid in overall stress/anxiety reduction while enrolled at CSUF.Methods/Description: 1st year DPT students participated in a peer-mentoring service learning opportunity led by 3rd year DPT students. The peer mentoring event included presentations and activities which were focused on stress management, including: exercise, meditation and mindfulness, coloring activities focused on human anatomy review, available university resources for health or mental-health needs, or participation in activities offered to students on campus. The Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7)5 was implemented pre and post activity. GAD-7 is measured on a 15-point scale with a higher score identifying greater impairment, has a sensitivity (89%) and specificity (82%), and is a valid research tool.5Results/Outcomes: 42 subjects volunteered for the study (19 males, 23 females). 4 subjects did not complete the questionnaire and withdrew. 2-tailed paired t-tests (p<0.05) were performed to determine differences in pre/post GAD-7 scores. Pre-test score was 6.10±3.6, and decreased to 5.76±4.0 (p-value 0.04). There was a small between-group effect size (Cohen’s D = 0.08). An initial descriptive analysis estimated the Pearson correlation coefficient and found a strong correlation coefficient of = 0.97.Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Our Leadership Landscape: Perspectives from the Ground Level to 30,000 Feet: Findings support peer mentoring for 1st year DPT students. However, this study had a small sample size and continued implementation and data collection is important for a long-term study. This study supports how DPT students develop strategies to build resilience and manage stress/anxiety through peer mentoring. These opportunities potentially aid in building leadership skills amongst cohorts. Boud et al. found during peer interactions that graduate students are more likely to transition between being a learner and teacher which provided a dynamic learning process.6References: 1. Evans TM, Bira L, Gastelum J, et al. Evidence for a mental health crisis in graduate education. Nature Biotechnology 2018;36:282–284. doi:10.1038/nbt.4089 2. Frank L, Cassady S. Health and wellness in entry-level physical therapy students: are measures of stress, anxiety, and academic performance related? Cardiopulm Phys Ther J. 2005;16(4):5. 3. Graduate Assembly of UC, Berkley Graduate Student Happiness & Well-Being Report 2014. Accessed on March 20, 2018 at http://ga.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/wellbeingreport_summary_2014.pdf. 4. Macauley K, Plummer L, Bemis C, et al. Prevalence and predictors of anxiety in healthcare professions students. Health Professions Education (2018), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hpe.2018.01.001. 5. Spitzer RL, Kroenke K, Williams JB, et al. A brief measure for assessing generalized anxiety disorder The GAD-7. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(10):1092-1097. Doi 10.1001/archinet.166.10.1092. 6. Boud D, Lee A. Peer learning as a pedagogic discourse for research education. Studies in Higher Edu. 2005;30(5):501-516. 7. Kuhn C, Castanzo Z. Boosting the career development of postdocs with a peer-to-peer mentor circles program. Nature Biotechnology. 2016;34(7):781-783. 8. Barry KM, Woods M, Warnecke E, et al. Psychological health of doctoral candidates, study-related challenges and perceived performance. Higher Edu Research & Dev. 2018. doi:10.1080/07294360.2018.1425979. 9. De Vibe M, Solhaug I, Tyssen R, et al. Mindfulness training for stress management: a randomised controlled study of medical and psychology students. BMC Med Edu. 2013;13(1)107. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6920/13/107. 10. Noonan MJ, Ballinger R, Black R. Peer and faculty mentoring in doctoral education: definitions, experiences, and expectations. Intl. Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. 2007;19(3):251-262. 11. Cruess RL, Cruess SR, Boudreau DJ, et al. Reframing medical education to support professional identity formation. Academic Medicine. 2014;89(11)1446-1451. 12. Baranik LE, Roling EA, Eby LT. Why does mentoring work? The role of perceived organizational support. Jouranl of Vocational Behavior. 2010;76:366-373. 13. Bell-Ellison BA, Dedrick RF. What do doctoral students valued in their ideal mentor? Res High Edu. 2008;49:555-567. 14. Harris SM. Development of the perceptions of mentoring relationships survey: a mixed methods approach. Intl. Journal of Multiple Research Approaches. 2013;7(1):83-95.