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Teaching to Relax: Development of a Program to Potentiate Stress—Results of a Feasibility Study with Medical Undergraduate Students
Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2016
Pages: 275 - 281
Source ID: shanti-sources-109411
Abstract: Medical students are a population at risk for the development of stress-related risk states (e.g. burnout) and manifest mental disorders (e.g. depression). Still the learning of coping mechanisms against stress is not an integral part of the medical curriculum. In a pilot study we developed an elective course for learning relaxation techniques (Relacs) which was geared to the clinical practice of autogenic training (AT) with psychiatric patients. The course focussed on an innovative and mostly communicative transfer of knowledge about AT, progressive muscle relaxation and medical hypnosis and stressed the principle of repeated and supervised exercises in small student groups alongside self-administered exercise. 42 students took part in this course and showed a very high acceptance for the topic and positive evaluation. Moreover, we found a distinct improvement of the participants’ mental parameters (burnout, anxiety) and a good knowledge about the course’s contents within the final exams at the end of the semester. The structure and realisation of the course is easily adaptable and very effective regarding the improvement of the students’ mental health. Due to our results and the commonly known prevalence of stress-related disorders in medical students we postulate the integration of courses on relaxation strategies in the medical curriculum.