Stress Levels and Coping Strategies in Medical Students and its Association with Salivary IL-6 Levels


  • Monica Karanth Fourth-year Medical Student. Father Muller Medical College, Mangalore-575002, India.
  • Anahita Shenoy Basti MD Physiology. Father Muller Medical College, Mangalore-575002, India.
  • Chandralekha N MD Pharmacology. Father Muller Medical College, Mangalore-575002, India.
  • Cleeta Reberio MSc. Father Muller Medical College, Mangalore-575002, India.


stress, coping strategies, medical students, IL6 levels


Background: Medical students experience stress throughout their training period, to which they have built their own coping mechanisms. Stress alters various physiological processes, including serum and salivary markers. IL-6 a pro-inflammatory marker, is altered in stress and depression. The present study was conducted to study the stress levels and coping strategies in medical students and its association with salivary IL-6 levels.

Methods: This descriptive study was conducted after obtaining institutional ethical clearance. 76 undergraduate medical students who gave their consent, answered the Cohen’s perceived stress scale and BriefCOPE questionnaire. Unstimulated saliva was collected to assess salivary IL-6 levels.

Results:  Out of the 76 participants 77.6% were females and 22.4% were males. 9 students perceived mild, 53 moderate and 14 severe stress. Based on Kurskal Wallis p test, in all grades of stress, approach method of coping had a higher score. Most commonly used coping strategies in students with mild and medium stress was acceptance, positive-refrain and planning. Students with severe stress, planning, self-distraction and self-blame were adopted. In spite of the perceived stress, there was no significant difference in the salivary IL-6 levels among the three categories.

Conclusion: The common coping strategies employed by students to handle stress was approach, which has been shown to be associated with better outcomes. In spite of this, a vast number of students have reported to experience stress. Therefore, more effective coping strategies are needed to handle stress and demands of the profession.


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How to Cite

Karanth, M., Shenoy Basti, A., N, C., & Reberio, C. (2023). Stress Levels and Coping Strategies in Medical Students and its Association with Salivary IL-6 Levels. International Journal of Medical Students. Retrieved from



Original Article