Strategies for Enhancing Resilience in Medical Students: a Group Concept Mapping Analysis

Jessica Donohoe, Margaret O’Rourke, Sean Hammond, S.T. Stoyanov, Colm O’Tuathaigh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)


Objective: Research has consistently shown that medical students have greater rates of stress and mental-ill health in comparison with non-medical students. The objective of this study was to investigate the resilience strategies employed by medical students in an Irish medical school to inoculate themselves against the deleterious effects of stress on health and wellbeing.

Methods: Group concept mapping was utilized incorporating qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The stages undertaken by year 3 students at an Irish medical school involved brainstorming/idea generation, categorization, and rating of resilience strategies students employed to manage stress during medical school. The data was analyzed utilizing The Concept System® software through multidimensional scaling and hierarchical clustering.

Results: Categories of resilience strategies employed included “friends and family,” “de-stress through exercise/sport,” “extracurricular non-medical activities,” “self-enabled distraction,” “organization,” and “enhancing emotional and mental wellbeing.” Students rated spending time with “friends and family” to be most effective when seeking to relieve stress, whereas students rated “de-stressing through exercise/sport” as being of greatest importance in relation to inclusion in a resilience-based intervention. Students recognized the value of incorporating strategies to enhance emotional and mental wellbeing into a resilience-promoting program. “Self-enabled distraction” rated poorly on both scales.

Conclusions: Strategies rated by students to be important to incorporate in a stress reduction management program are accessible, are feasible, and can be implemented into the medical curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-431
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Group concept mapping
  • Medical students
  • Resilience
  • Support
  • US


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