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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1959; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091959

Reducing Stress and Promoting Social Integration of International Medical Students through a Tandem Program: Results of a Prospective-Program Evaluation

1
Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Medical University Hospital Tuebingen, University of Tuebingen, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany
2
Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, Department of General Internal Medicine and Psychosomatics, University Hospital Heidelberg, Thibautstraße 2, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany
A. Herrmann-Werner and F. Junne equally contributed to this manuscript (shared first authorship) and are listed in alphabetical order.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 August 2018 / Revised: 31 August 2018 / Accepted: 5 September 2018 / Published: 7 September 2018
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Abstract

Medical students, and especially international medical students (IMS), have been shown to experience more psychological distress than the general student population in Germany. In order to address these issues, a structured Tandem Program (TP) to reduce stress and foster social integration of IMS has been introduced at the Medical Faculty of Tuebingen. The Tandem Program was evaluated prospectively with perceived stress (PSQ-20) as the main outcome. Secondary outcomes were ‘motives to participate’ in the TP, ‘specific stressors’, and ‘experiences made’ during the program. Stress levels of IMS at the beginning of the program (t0) (M = 48.14, SD = 11.95) were higher than those of German participants (M = 39.33, SD = 8.31) (t (67) = −3.66, p < 0.001). At the end of the TP (t1), stress levels of international students were significantly lower than at t0. “Improved ability to work in a team” was seen as one of the most beneficial factors. The results indicate that tandem programs at medical faculties may be a promising curricular intervention towards reducing stress levels, improving integration of international students, and to enhance intercultural and team-oriented competencies in both international and national medical students. View Full-Text
Keywords: tandem project; international medical students; psychological distress tandem project; international medical students; psychological distress
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Herrmann-Werner, A.; Junne, F.; Stuber, F.; Huhn, D.; Nikendei, C.; Seifried-Dübon, T.; Zipfel, S.; Erschens, R. Reducing Stress and Promoting Social Integration of International Medical Students through a Tandem Program: Results of a Prospective-Program Evaluation. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1959.

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