Last updated on February 2018

Increasing Medical Student Well-being Through Gratitude Journaling


Brief description of study

Clerkship causes significant stress to medical students. Some interventions to increase well-being have been described but none have been studied prospectively in this context.

The primary objective of this study is to examine the effects of gratitude journaling on medical clerks' perceived well-being.

Students will be randomised to one of two groups: gratitude journaling or no intervention. The participants of the experimental group will be asked to complete an online gratitude journal 3 times per week and will be compared to the participants in the control group.

The students in both groups will answer a standardised questionnaire evaluating well-being before and after their surgical rotation.

Those randomised to the intervention group will perform gratitude journaling three times a week during their surgical rotation. This activity consists of writing something that made them feel happy during their day.

Those randomised in the control group (no intervention) will proceed with their normal rotation, without additional gratitude journaling.

The main outcome will be evaluated by comparing the well-being at the end of the surgical rotation as evaluated by a composite well-being assessment scale between both groups.

Detailed Study Description

Medical education involves 2 years of rotations in different medical and surgical specialties. These cause significant stress to clerks, in particular during the surgery rotation. In other professional fields, mindfulness techniques have shown only small to moderate effect on mental health compared to the control group.

An alternative approach to increasing well-being is gratitude journaling. A study examining this approach in student populations demonstrated enhanced well-being and life satisfaction.

The primary objective of this study is to examine the effects of gratitude journaling on medical clerks' perceived well-being.

Students will be randomised to one of two groups: gratitude journaling or no intervention. The participants of the experimental group will be asked to complete an online gratitude journal 3 times per week and will be compared to the participants in the control group.

The students in both groups will answer a standardised questionnaire evaluating well-being before and after their surgical rotation.

Those randomised to the intervention group will perform gratitude journaling three times a week during their surgical rotation. This activity consists of writing something that made them feel happy during their day.

Those randomised in the control group (no intervention) will proceed with their normal rotation, without additional gratitude journaling.

The main outcome will be evaluated by comparing the well-being at the end of the surgical rotation as evaluated by a composite well-being assessment scale between both groups.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03240705

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Recruitment Status: Open


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