Abstract

Objectives. Occupational therapy students often perceive their curriculum to be stressful. Anecdotal reports have described occupational therapy students’ stress and coping strategies during their academic education; this study quantifies students’ perceptions.

Method. A questionnaire was used to survey 1,095 occupational therapy students representing the major geographical regions of the United States about perceived stress and coping strategies. The data were analyzed to determine patterns and frequencies of subjects’ stress and coping strategies.

Results. At least 86% of the subjects reported their top stressors to be examinations, amount of class work, lack of free time, long hours of study, and grades. Sixty-two percent of subjects said that the stress they experienced strengthened their commitment to their professional education.

Conclusions. Academic issues and time pressures were more stressful than nonschool issues for occupational therapy students. Subjects’ strategies for coping with these stressors usually included perseverance and rarely involved drugs, sex, or alcohol.

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