A Cross-Sectional Study of Happiness, Self-Esteem and Optimism in Medical Students
Objective: Medical students are exposed to a multitude of stressors which contribute to diminution of happiness. Self-esteem and optimism go hand in hand with happiness. Lack of the former two may further curtail the latter. The present study looked to determine interdependence between happiness, self-esteem and optimism among medical undergraduates, and discern any gender based differences between them. .
Methods: In this cross-sectional research, medical students (n=173) were subjected to three validated psychological instruments namely Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS), Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale (RSES) and Life Orientation Test (LOT). Students were grouped as happy/unhappy, having higher self-esteem/lower self-esteem, and as optimistic/pessimistic on basis of their mean scores. SHS, RSES and LOT scores were also collated with gender. Comparative and co relational assessments were carried out using independent sample T-test and Pearson’s correlation, respectively.
Results: Low frequencies of happiness (46.24%), self-esteem (52.60%) and optimism (49.13%) were observed. Significant correlation was found between the three parameters (RSES vs. SHS; Pearson’s R= 0.369, p= 0.001) (LOT vs. SHS; Pearson’s R= 0.323, p= 0.001) (RSES vs. LOT; Pearson’s R= 0.271, p= 0.001). Gender based analysis did not show any difference in self-esteem (mean score; males 27.70 vs. females 28.02, p= 0.726) and optimism (mean score; males 15.41 vs. females 14.98, p= 0.550). However, there was a significant difference in happiness (mean score; males 19.77 vs. females 17.81, p= 0.017). .
Conclusion: A major part of the medical student population is unhappy, pessimistic and has low self-esteem. Psycho-social measures should be implemented to curb such damaging elements. .
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