RESIST Project

R e s i l i e n c e S t u d y : What helps students to adapt to exam stress


What is the purpose of the study?

Many students find the exam period very stressful. However students vary a lot in how much stress and distress they feel because of exams. We believe that several resilience factors help students adapt to exam stress. We would therefore like to measure these resilience factors and stress/distress at a less stressful time before the exams, around exams, and a couple of months after the exams. This way we can test whether these resilience factors indeed lead to a smaller increase in stress/ distress during and after the exam time. We also want to look at how these resilience factors are related to each other. We believe that understanding these resilience factors more thoroughly will help us to support students better in the future.


What will participants be asked to do in the study?

The study consists of three parts, for which participants will receive separate survey links (one in Lent term, one in Easter term, and one end of the summer vacation/start Michaelmas term). All parts will take up to 25 minutes to complete. The questions will cover the following topics: socio-demographic variables, negative life experiences, perceived stress levels, psychotherapeutic/ psychopharmacological treatment, (social, emotional, cognitive, & behavioural) skills and resources, and general mental health.


Who is organising and sponsoring this research?

The study is being carried out by me, under the supervision of Dr Paul Wilkinson (University Lecturer in Psychiatry, and Medical Education Research Lead) and Dr Anne-Laura van Harmelen (Research Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry). The study is funded by the Medical Research Council and the Cambridge Department of Psychiatry.


Has the study been approved?

This study has been reviewed and approved by an independent group of people, the Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee, who have a duty to protect research volunteers’ safety, rights, wellbeing and dignity. The study has also been reviewed by a peer research review panel of medical students.


Who is invited to take part?

All University of Cambridge medical students. We contact all potential participants via their UoC email address, providing more details.