Health differences in didactic versus clinical stage graduate allied health students

Ali Boolani, David Schelly, Jeri Reid, Christopher Towler, Matthew Lee Smith, Alisha Ohl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


AIMS: Graduate education in the healthcare professions can be stressful and mentally taxing. The objective of this study was to identify differences in health and health-related behaviors among graduate allied health students based on sex and curriculum stage (i.e., didactic or clinical education). METHODS: Participants (n=77) were assessed for body fat, BMI, resting metabolic rate (RMR), and peripheral arterial-venous O2 (AVO2), as well as a series of cognitive tasks and self-reported health and health-related behaviors. Independent sample t-tests and tests of proportions were used to assess differences between groups. RESULTS: There was no evidence that the didactic and clinical students were meaningfully different upon entering their programs. Didactic students reported significantly higher tension/anxiety, depression, anger, confusion, fatigue, total mood disturbance, trait mental fatigue, total intensity of mental work performed, and time spent sitting (p<0.05). Didactic students also reported significantly lower RMR (p=0.033), but not after normalizing for fat-free mass. Males reported lower intensity of mental work performed on non-work days compared to females (p=0.009). CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicate students in didactic stages have worse mood and decreased health relative to their counterparts in clinical stages. Opportunities exist to integrate physical and mental health-related education, resources, and self-management programming into graduate allied health curricula to improve wellness among students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-288
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allied Health
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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