Well-Being, Burnout, and Depression Among North American Psychiatrists: The State of Our Profession [2020]

Objective:
The authors examined the prevalence of burnout and depressive symptoms among North American psychiatrists, determined demographic and practice characteristics that increase the risk for these symptoms, and assessed the correlation between burnout and depression.

Methods:
A total of 2,084 North American psychiatrists participated in an online survey, completed the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI) and the Patient Health Questionnaire–9 (PHQ-9), and provided demographic data and practice information. Linear regression analysis was used to determine factors associated with higher burnout and depression scores.

Results:
Participants’ mean OLBI score was 40.4 (SD=7.9) and mean PHQ-9 score was 5.1 (SD=4.9). A total of 78% (N=1,625) of participants had an OLBI score ≥35, suggestive of high levels of burnout, and 16.1% (N=336) of participants had PHQ-9 scores ≥10, suggesting a diagnosis of major depression. Presence of depressive symptoms, female gender, inability to control one’s schedule, and work setting were significantly associated with higher OLBI scores. Burnout, female gender, resident or early-career stage, and nonacademic setting practice were significantly associated with higher PHQ-9 scores. A total of 98% of psychiatrists who had PHQ-9 scores ≥10 also had OLBI scores >35. Suicidal ideation was not significantly associated with burnout in a partially adjusted linear regression model.

Conclusions:
Psychiatrists experience burnout and depression at a substantial rate. This study advances the understanding of factors that increase the risk for burnout and depression among psychiatrists and has implications for the development of targeted interventions to reduce the high rates of burnout and depression among psychiatrists. These findings have significance for future work aimed at workforce retention and improving quality of care for psychiatric patients.

Richard F. Summers, M.D., Tristan Gorrindo, M.D., Seungyoung Hwang, M.S., M.S.E., Rashi Aggarwal, M.D., Constance Guille, M.D.
The American Journal of Psychiatry, 14 Jul 2020
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