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May 17, 1985

Examining the Internship

JAMA. 1985;253(19):2829. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350430039005

To the Editor.—  Wentz and Ford1 provided an interesting historical review of the internship year of graduate medical education. We wish to respond to some of their observations, and to offer a few of our own.The authors appropriately draw attention to the effects of internship on the young physician's mental health. Severe emotional distress, depression, sleep deprivation, impaired cognition, irritability, and impaired interpersonal relationships ("most notably with wife and family") are mentioned. We must point out that the internship affects husbands as well as wives—women made up 24% of all residents in 1983 and were found in all specialties with accredited programs.2Although the authors caution that these potential effects "must not be lightly dismissed," they cite one study3 that "suggests that interns do tend to retrospectively exaggerate the degree of emotional distress they experience." We question the conclusions of that study, which are based on