Efficacy of Williams LifeSkills training for improving psychological health: A pilot comparison study of Chinese medical students

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Abstract

Introduction

High stress levels and mental health problems are common among medical students. Behavioral interventions aimed at preventing mental health problems among medical students have been recommended in managing stress during their study period. The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of Williams LifeSkills training (WLST) for improving psychological health of Chinese medical students.

Methods

Sixty medical students were chosen as the study group (n = 30) and the control group (n = 30). The study group completed the 8-week WLST, while the controls did not take any training course. All subjects were assessed before and after the 8-week training period using the Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS), Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), Trait Coping Style Questionnaire (TCSQ), Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL) and Self-Esteem Scale (SES). The data of 29 students in the study group and 26 students in the control group were qualified for statistical analysis in the current study.

Results

Group–time interactions were significant for the ISEL total (P = 0.008), ISEL appraisal (P = 0.002), SES (P = 0.002), SAS (P = 0.005) and SDS (P = 0.032). Post-hoc paired Student's t-tests showed that all these measures improved significantly (P < 0.05) in the study group but were unchanged in the control group.

Discussion

In our study, a behavioral intervention – WLST – improved psychological health of the study group. If confirmed in further trials, these results suggest that WLST could be a means of improving mental health of medical students as well as other groups in China.

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