Evaluation of anxiety in doctor of pharmacy students in their first through fourth professional years

Farah Khorassani, Bessma Hassani, John Conry, Gemma Espejo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) student anxiety is not well accounted for in the literature. Anxiety carries the potential to cause impairment in functioning, worsen mental health outcomes, and adversely impact cognition, academic performance, and professionalism. The purpose of this study was to characterize anxiety among PharmD students in their first through fourth professional years. Secondary aims were to compare the prevalence of clinically significant anxiety and severity of anxiety among classes. Methods: A cross-sectional, observational analysis was performed surveying 198 pharmacy students completing professional coursework. A survey shared via social media containing the Zung Self-Anxiety Scale and general demographic questions was distributed to pharmacy students to assess the prevalence and severity of anxiety in first through fourth professional year students. Clinically significant anxiety was defined as a raw score ≥ 36. A one-way analysis of variance was performed to compare the means of all classes and Tukey's honestly significant differences test was performed to evaluate for statistical differences between individual classes. Results: Clinically significant anxiety was evident in 65% of respondents. The second professional year class reported the highest rate of anxiety with 84% meeting the threshold for clinically significant anxiety. The fourth professional year class reported the lowest rates with 51% reporting clinically significant anxiety. Conclusions: Anxiety is prevalent in pharmacy students with higher levels of anxiety observed in earlier years. This work highlights opportunities to expand student mental health resources. Further studies are warranted to identify factors contributing to pharmacy student anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-634
Number of pages7
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Healthcare professions students
  • Mental health
  • Pharmacy
  • Students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Pharmacy


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