Medical students (MSs) are healthcare workers and must also cope with education-related stressors. This study aims to assess factors associated with perceived stress in Italian MSs. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 12 Italian medical schools (MSCs) in November 2018. A questionnaire assessed socio-demographic characteristics, habits, opinions about MSC, and concerns about the future. Stress was assessed with the PSS-10. Descriptive and univariable tests were performed. A linear model was fitted to find associations of the PSS-10 score with characteristics. There were 2513 collected questionnaires. Median PSS-10 score was 18 (IQR 11). Median age was 22 (IQR 4) and 61% of the sample was female. Female gender, being part of a sexual minority, poor financial situation, competitive atmosphere, having hobbies, resting, and sleeping hindered by MSC were characteristics associated with higher PSS-10 scores. Current relationship, good family relationship, and no concerns about the future were protective factors. Being part of sexual minorities had greater effects in students not living away from home, while in the other group it was not having satisfying friendships. Medical students suffer higher levels of stress than the general population, and many MSC stressors are associated. Living away from home modifies risk and protective factors, offering the possibility to tailor group-specific interventions.
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