Introduction: Excessive stress causes physical and mental health problems and also impairs students’ academic achievement and personal or professional development. The transition from high school to higher education for students is a stressful experience as they struggle to cope with an array of changing conditions including movement away from home, change of peer group, the establishment of new friendships and expected to cope with the university academic demands and interaction with local and expatriate instructors with different backgrounds. Therefore, this transition period is accompanied by positive and negative emotional experiences.
Objective: To assess the perceived stress level and associated factors among health science students at Debre birehane University, North Shoa, Ethiopia.
Methods: A cross-sectional study design was employed both quantitative and qualitative methods. Study population was selected by using stratified random sampling technique and data were collected by using structured pre-tested self-administered questionnaire. Stratified random sampling method with proportionate allocation was used to get the required sample size 279. Data were entered and analyzed using SPSS software version 16. Frequencies, binary and logistic regression were used to describe and analyze study variables. Ethical approval was granted from JU College of Public Health and Medical sciences ethical committee.
Result: the overall Mean PSS score in the study population was 31.09(SD=8.19) and was significantly higher among female students. In this study, 174(63.7%) respondents had got a PSS-14 score greater than 28, with a 95% CI of (34.78-36.66). The odds of perceived stress level among first year students were higher compared to fourth-year student.
Conclusion and recommendation: A higher level of perceived stress was reported by the students. According to this study gender, pocket money, social support, and relationship with classmates and dorm mates, physical problem and ever use of substance were significant factors contributing to the perceived stress level. Policy makers and the university management consistently plan suitable activities or programs for the students on managing stress.