Risk Perception, Risk Communication & Psychological Distress Of Covid-19 Among Medical Students In A Medical University In Malaysia

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Nurul Asyiqin Binti Mohd Nasir, Tan Yong Qi, Muhammad Syahmi Bin Lockman and Rafidah Bahari


Introduction: During the Covid-19 pandemic, a detailed knowledge of how medical students are informed about the danger and how they perceive the risk is critical for emergency preparedness and crisis management. Therefore, the objective of this research is to determine the association between risk perception, risk communication and psychological distress on covid-19 among the medical students in a medical school in Malaysia.

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted among 537 medical students from a medical school in Malaysia in the period from October 2020 to February 2022. The sample selection was done by stratified random sampling and voluntary participation. The self-administered questionnaire was distributed online.

Result: The majority of respondents (51%) perceive that it is likely or very likely for them to be infected with SARS-CoV2 virus. However, respondents generally perceive the risk of getting COVID-19 as low or none. In terms of communication of the risk of getting COVID-19 and the danger it poses, almost all of the respondents felt that the information they received were at least adequate (91.8%). 66.1% of the respondents experienced at least mild psychological distress due to the pandemic COVID-19. The prevalence of psychological distress was higher in the clinical group (75.4%) as compared to the preclinical group (61.3%) (p<0.05).


The majority of medical students in this study were aware of the high risk of getting COVID-19, and most of them received adequate information about the condition. Social media channels were the main source of information in this population, and hence is a good way to ensure appropriate risk communication. Other than that, it is undeniable that the pandemic COVID-19 has an impact on a person’s mental health, with 66.1% of respondents in this study suffering from at least mild psychological distress. Hence, it is important that institutions for higher education provide a mechanism to identify and give intervention for those at risk. However, further studies are needed to address these issues to better prepare institutions for higher education in the case of similar situations in the future.

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