Medical education has been uniquely affected by the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). As the pandemic’s psychological impacts on medical students remain unclear, this study assessed COVID-19’s impacts on undergraduate medical students’ stress and anxiety. A nationwide, online survey was administered via email chains between June-August 2020 to first-fourth year medical students in the United States. Demographics, 4-point Perceived Stress Scale that measures stress, 7-point Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale that measures anxiety, and the impacts of social, health, and academic stressors due to COVID-19 were collected. Of the 852 students who participated, 66.1% experienced mild, moderate, or severe anxiety. Mean PSS-4 score was 7.25/16. Stress was highest in second- through fourth-year students. Students with preexisting mental health conditions had significantly higher stress and anxiety scores, and higher percentage of stress attributed to COVID-19. Trust in government institutions during COVID-19 was the highest stressor in first- and second-year students. Delay/availability of standardized exams was the highest stressor for third-year students. Impact on rotations/residencies was the highest stressor for fourth-year students. Understanding how students’ anxiety and stress have changed due to COVID-19 will allow educators to identify students in need and guide recommendations on the implementation of psychological interventions and support strategies.
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