INTRODUCTION: Medical school is a very stressful environment with multiple sources of stress, including academic, social and other issues. International medical students are exposed to additional stressors such as homesickness and culture shock. METHODS: In order to assess the influence of cultural background on the level of perceived distress, we examined Israeli and American students studying at the same university during a period of terror. RESULTS: We found clear differences between the 2 groups of students, with Americans reporting a higher level of anxiety and a poorer level of social functioning than the Israelis. Although there was no significant difference between the 2 groups in terms of their sense of safety, the American students reported a higher level of fear and more change in their daily activities to a greater extent than did the Israelis. CONCLUSIONS: These findings underscore the effect of culture on students' responses to the same stressful stimuli and to a perceived dangerous environment. Faculty needs to be aware that cultural factors may affect students' adjustment to the medical school environment.
- Comparative study
- Education, medical, undergraduate
- Stress, psychological/ *aetiology
- Students, medical/*psychology
- United States