attitude; professional burnout; psychological well-being; career choice; mental health


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion



With long hours, significant responsibilities, and a heavy workload, residency can be an incredibly stressful experience. The aim of our study was to assess the impact of residency on mental health and wellness. A secondary aim was to determine if the post-graduate year (PGY) of the different residents impacted their mental health or ability to cope with the stressors of residency.


Residents in anesthesiology, family medicine, internal medicine, and surgery were invited to complete a survey. The first portion of the survey had residents rank their mental health on a scale from 1 to 5. There was also a short-form answer portion, which collected suggestions on how to improve wellness. An analysis of variance was used to compare the means of 2 continuous outcome variables—Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) and burnout scores compared across specialties and post-graduate years. Burnout scores were measured using the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory. This survey was created and validated by psychology researchers to assess burnout based on the strongest indicators of burnout—emotional exhaustion and disengagement from work. The PHQ9 survey was chosen as it has a specificity of 91-94% and is a reliable method to screen for depression, a common companion to burnout.


PHQ9 scores were highest among surgery residents (7.2 ± 7.07), followed by anesthesia (6.59 ± 6.64), emergency medicine (5.57 ± 4.09), and internal medicine (4.82 ± 3.68). Scoring was also higher among PGY4-6 residents. Burnout scores were highest among surgery (37.8 ± 8.69) and anesthesia (38.17 ± 7.09) residents and among PGY4-6 residents. PGY4-6 residents had a mean burnout score of 38.55 ± 7.67 compared to 36.17 ± 8.69 among first-year residents. Similarly, the P value noted no significant difference among burnout scores across either specialty or year: .5930 and .8061.


There was no significant difference among specialties or years in training among their subjective ratings of depression.